The ugly truth

I’ve disconnected again. I mean, it’s something I’ve been “learning from experience” for the past 11 months. Something that has hurt again and again until I finally figured out a way to cope.

There have been so many times when I’ve had to walk away.
Those times that it seemed unbearable.
Those moments when you have to say goodbye—AGAIN—to people you’ve formed deep relationships with. Or you’re saying goodbye to someone who you know you that if you just had a couple more days, you would really connect with.

It started in the Dominican Republic—month numero uno.
My team and I didn’t know what we were doing. At all.
We didn’t know each other and we didn’t really want to get to know each other at first.

We struggled through that month, entering into the beginning of the deep relationships that we would eventually form, and for the meantime, trying to figure each other out and “look like we had it all together.”

We got to know our translator, Mayi, really well.
We had incredible contacts, who cared about us and made sure we were eating enough and always safe.
Pastor Meco was the best. His church was also a Compassion International base, so as we taught English to the kids who came there every day, we also began to form relationships with the children and workers.

Later, looking back on this month, we realized how good we had it and how amazing the relationships were that we had formed. We didn’t recognize it yet, because it was our first month. We were only just beginning.

But then came the time—the first time—that we had to leave.
We had to say goodbye to our kids, then to Meco and to Mayi.
There were tears on all sides.
We were thrown off by it, not expecting it at first.

But the tears came because we had been given a gift in knowing these people.

We also understood that unless the Lord called each of us back there specifically, that we may not see them again on this side of heaven.

That hurt.

So we began to follow a pattern.

  1. Enter a country
  2. Meet people
  3. Begin building relationships (They always blessed us way more than we blessed them)
  4. Start becoming friends
  5. And just as we were really getting to know them, we had to leave.

It’s a killer pattern.
It sucks.
It’s reality on the World Race.
You do only have a month (actually 2-3 weeks typically, depending on how long travel to-and-from the country takes), and right when you start to go deeper, you have to leave.

It’s something for future World Racers to be prepared for, and something for World Race alumni to acknowledge.

It’s something I literally just realized last night.
My parents asked me if I missed my teammates.
You’d think the obvious answer would be yes.
But before I knew the words that were coming out of my mouth,
I said, “Umm…not really…”
*I gasped in horror*
But that’s when I KNEW:
I’m doing it again. I’m disconnecting. I’m in the process of “moving on.”
I didn’t even realize that I was trying to do that.
It’s a reaction that has become so natural, so ingrained in these past 11 months,
that it happened without me even knowing it anymore.

It made me take a deep breath and go, “Whoa, did I really just say that? Is that what I’m doing?”

It’s made me think a lot today.
Do I want to move on?
Should I?
Can I?

I still love my teammates.
I cherish this year with them…and the fact that we were the only team on J Squad not to change.
I love my squad incredibly.
I don’t want to disconnect from them at all.

But it’s a reaction I’ve learned…essentially I’ve jumped into Month 12 of ministry and am entering into being home with friends and family, “shaking off the emotions” of leaving Ireland and its people, and in addition to that, my squad and team, who have been with me the whole way.

These have been the hardest goodbyes yet…
…and I don’t want to disconnect.
I don’t want this to be my reaction to leaving.
I guess this is a part of the coming home process.

There’s no roadmap for stuff like this.
I’m just glad I was able to realize this now and not later.
Lord, my prayer is that I wouldn’t continue this pattern of disconnecting. Please teach me how to maintain these relationships that are such a gift. It hurts to be apart, and to say goodbye to people I love. But I know even in this, and in the time we have together, no matter how short or how long, that there is such incredible purpose. May I be able to enter in to new relationships, and continue to deepen the ones I already have, without pulling myself away in an effort to protect myself from hurt. May You be glorified in each and every relationship I have, and I trust you and know You will show me a healthy way to cope with everything. Thank You, Lord, for always being so trustworthy and for loving me through this time of processing, frustration, waiting and trusting.

Do you do this too? Do you disconnect from something or someone without even realizing that you’ve done it? If so, have you found that the Lord has given you a way to reconnect? What have you learned in the process?

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)