Here We Go Again

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About 72 hours from hopping on another plane to the opposite side of the world.

Holy crap, where did the summer go?

Being back in the US has been surreal, in a good kind of way. The best part of it has been seeing family and reuniting with friends. Since being back in the US, here’s what’s happened.

– Taken at least 13 flights and visited South Bend, Memphis, DC, Phoenix, Tulsa, and Orlando.

– Read 7 books and listened to 3.

– Have gone to the movies probably 10 times.

– Met my new nephew, and spent some good times with the other two and my niece.

– Spent good times with family and friends, although you can never really have enough time with these people.

– Uncovered the possible next step after the coming year.

It’s been a good summer. Kind of like living in a different world though. I’ve been asked a few times how the US compares to Afghanistan. Someday, if we colonize another planet, the description of that will be about right. This is not a bad thing, it’s just one of those things that is. Being in a new place changes the way you see every other one. It’s happened on every trip that I’ve gone on, some more than others, without fail. I’ll at least never be as fond of fireworks as I once was.

I’ve had more than one encounter when people ask incredulously, “you’re going back?!” Well… yea.. of course I am. When you have a purpose, wouldn’t you go to crazy places to be a part of it? When you have something fulfilling that you do, wouldn’t you brave a little danger? Where I am just happens to be more publicly acknowledged as crazy and dangerous than most other places.

I’ve had people say, “Well, I don’t think I could do that.” To which, I’m going to start replying… “well, I don’t know that I could be a parent of three kids.” Not that having kids is a bad thing. Just that having one at this stage of my life is far scarier than living in a war zone. I don’t think I could brave a desk job anywhere other than in an active conflict at this point. I’m far too selfish to raise a child, or to even be married, at this point. (Here’s to hoping that will change…) In truth, I’m too selfish not to go back. Sure, I’m giving some things up, and I guarantee I’ll complain about them at some point (co-workers be warned). But I’m gaining the things that I want. And crap, I’m glad not everyone wants them, then they would be harder for me to get. I’m more than happy to be a “little off” from the social norms. This doesn’t make me more impressive than anyone else, it just makes me well… a little off.

I have to say… I’m beyond proud of people like my sister. Raising two children on her own, although with the help of some amazingly impressive grandparents. That’s a much harder, braver, more impressive calling than I could handle. My brother and his wife, raising two children, the hardships that they face are much higher on the scale of difficulty than mine. And.. of course my parents (already mentioned above). They had to deal with me, enough said. All my friends who are getting/ have been married. Godspeed. I hope to live up to your example someday. My pastor, who gave 70+ people a view into a very intimate part of who he is this morning. That’s way harder than what I’m doing. All these people don’t get the “publicity” like I do… but they deserve it just as much, if not more.

While it’s not true every second of every day, it’s generally the case that I love what I do. That’s why I’m going back. I love the hope and possibility that I see in Ktown; in the students I work with, in the staff. I love the strange, quirky, beautiful culture. I even love being in a place that makes the headlines, although I’m not a huge fan of the reasons it does, the point stands. Let’s brighten up those headlines shall we? Let’s make changes, let’s bring opportunity, and if we fail… let’s fail spectacularly. Some people say that helping this country is impossible…. let’s see them prove it.

Heading home is certainly bittersweet… but I think I’ve had that feeling just about every time I do something worthwhile. Adios for now. Next post coming from Central Asia (not the middle east.)

Cheers.

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