Coming back to "normal" life after an adventure always takes adjustments. This time, the life I've returned to is similar to - but not the same as - the one I left. Same job; different responsibility level and different crew. Same city; different house and living arrangements. Same friends; different places in life. Even the April weather was almost identical to the September that I left. In the early days of being back, I almost believed I'd never left.
Returning after being away a while is like putting on a pair of old jeans and finding they don't fit anymore. At times when you're away, you just think about them and how comfortable they feel. Problem is, you're never the same size when you return. Parts grow, parts change, some parts warp... but whatever the differences, those jeans don't feel the same.
The scientific term for all of this is reverse culture shock... I like to think of it as evidence of growth. No, I am not the same as when I left, but wasn't that the point? Doesn't everyone leave - whether for a 5* vacation or a remote missions trip; 5 days or 5 years - so that they (at least slightly) become a different person than when they left? Some seek renewal, some rest, some persective, some purpose. All want to cope better, understand more, enjoy more fully, see more clearly and live better these remaining days that make up our lives.
For me, being away is most often transforming... experience is a tool God uses for me to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. It involves seeing what once was normal in a different light, and reacting as who I am now. Sometimes there is an intense desire to just be who I was, but it becomes impossible to be that person honestly.
I encourage each of you in that journey, wherever you're going, to let it transform you. We are loved too much to not be given circumstances to grow. The obvious opportunities are the ones that use airplanes, languages, and diverse cultures as the mediums. The important opportunities are what surround us everyday as we seek to be world changers in the communities we're in now.
The point of yesterday is always to prepare us for today. So friends, wherever you are, in whatever place, take the best from all you've known and bloom where you've been planted. No matter how you feel, you have been made ready for that. So let yourself be transformed by the days gone by - and get some new jeans.