I know I’ve been awfully silent for awhile over here. There’s just so much to share, so much to write, that it is hard to start. And for quite some time it has felt like I couldn’t share much of what I was feeling because we were so unsure of what we were doing. It would take too long to go back to the beginning and share the process we went through this year. It was long and at times hard. And it still isn’t over. Our hearts have grown, our visions have grown and our options for service have grown. But instead of making it easier to choose the path ahead, it in many ways has made it harder. As we pick our way through the many paths that seem open to us right now, we have decided to return back to Arkansas to continue to evaluate what we’ve learned and where we want to head from here. It’s exciting, but also overwhelming. And for John, who has had to struggle through a position that was not what he expected it to be, it has been frustrating. But we are both expectant at what our future holds.

So as we return to our “home,” we do so with excitement. We don’t know how long we’ll be there, but we look forward to reconnecting for as long as we have. There are so many things we love about Arkansas. For one thing, it is full of family and friends. People we love and who have been such a support for us in so many ways. People who have lived through much of our lives with us, know us, and can hopefully help guide us on the path ahead. Then there is the culture and language we know and are comfortable in. I’m going to enjoy being able to walk into a store and know how to ask for help (or maybe not even need to ask for help because I know where to find everything I need). I’m going to love knowing what is expected of me in the culture, and no matter how much I complain about how over-individualistic the US is, I must admit I’m going to enjoy living in the knowledge that I can choose to live counter-culturally and it is totally ok. I am looking forward excitedly to homeschooling my three big kids this next year.

greenhillsBut I also will miss many things about here. We lived here for a year and a half, and this has become home to us. Part of our heart will remain here, and we will mourn for what we are losing. We will miss the spectacular views of mountains and hills and green fields (that are green year round). We will miss having the option to walk for almost all our daily tasks instead of drive. We will miss public transportation for those times we don’t really want to mess with driving somewhere. I will miss the German language. Even though I didn’t do well at learning it, I will miss having a reason to learn it, as I did start to fall in love with it. I will miss simple things like windows that open like doors, cars that fit lots of people AND have good gas mileage, ice cream shops on every street corner, and cheap raw milk. But most of all, I’ll miss the people. The community here that pours themselves into each other no matter how many good-byes they have to say or how short of a time they have. These people have won my heart and I admire their ability to continue to live life together despite the good-byes. Because of that ability, I can say that I have friends here, friendships that I hope I won’t lose even though we will be separated by many miles.

So, I write this blog for both of my “homes.” I hope that those on this side of the ocean can read this and see how much I love them and this place. How much I will miss it once we are gone. And I write this blog with the hope that those I am returning to will know and understand why we may mourn in the midst of our excitement to see them again. My hope is that there will be lots of grace on both sides. That we can laugh and share and cry and dream together without judgement and comparison.

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