King Solomon spoke about a time to keep silent and a time to speak. I’m quite sure if the internet had been in existence when he wrote Ecclesiastes, he would have included a couple stanzas on that very subject.
This last year and a half was my time to keep silent. Every time I reached for my keyboard to “process” something, I would feel that inward hesitation that I have learned to listen to closely. Not the writer’s block I experienced in Slate Falls, but more of a simple call to be quiet and ponder rather than share and express.
Now looking back over the last year and a half, I can laugh with pure relief that I listened to that still small voice.
I do believe that transparency and honesty are very important, if not just for that fact that it can remind us that we are not the only ones who struggle.
It was healing for me to write about my depression, growing up, and struggle with self-acceptance in my early twenties. I don’t’ think I’ll ever look back and regret that. And I will always wish I had written more during my time in the North, as hard as it was to express what I was experiencing.
I know there were several who were looking forward to me writing about my transition into marriage and a more traditional Mennonite community. Believe me, I was just as interested myself to see how that would go.
I’m sure the time will come to share different aspects of it.
The silence was not because it was very difficult or traumatic. I simply needed space and rest to figure everything out again. And I got it! While there was a lot to learn and adjust to, it certainly wasn’t any worse than any other cross-cultural experience I’ve went through. It has been a beautiful year and a half of rest and renewal. Countless nights I would wake up at 3 am and just revel in the quiet and security, knowing there was nowhere I would rather be than right here.
However, it was important this time that I didn’t record ALL THE FEELINGS with ALL THE INTERNET.
I thank God daily that Justin is the kind of man who listens and seeks to understand without passing judgement. It made the adjustment so. much. easier. Countless times he would drop everything to listen to me rant, take me on a hike when I felt misunderstood, or assure me when I felt like I would never belong.
It took me a while, but for the most part I have now worked through the initial mental struggles with moving to a new place and a new culture. I am learning to embrace all the beautiful things it has to offer, instead of focusing on what I think needs changing or what I don’t understand. And I know that is not revolutionary—that’s just part of acclimating to and accepting a new place/culture/country.
My spirit feels more at rest than in has in a long, long time. I can look back over the last 6 years and can so clearly see the work of God in every step that even on the hard days there is that calm assurance that this is where I am supposed to be.
It’s hard to explain how amazing it is for me to feel RELAXED. I don’t’ think people quite understand how foreign that feeling was for me. And I know this stage won’t last forever either. I don’t feel called to live “relaxed”, it’s just an oasis along the way. There is a settled contentment with myself and my life that I don’t know if I have ever experienced quite this way.
Each journey looks different, I guess.
In this restoration I have moved from simply “reacting” to life to being able to be more fully present with each stage.
When I found out, a little before our first anniversary, that I was carrying my first child, I laughed all morning with wonder and excitement. I knew more change was coming so fast, but I felt like I could reach out to it, instead of pulling back, afraid of “not being enough”. My reaction would have been very different a few months before.
Oh yes, there have been nights of wrestling, like we all have. And a few weeks this winter were I had to revisit my old depression toolbox to keep the dark cloud from descending again.
Yet, I feel whole and that is a good place to go forward from.
I think I’m ready now to come back here now.
For my own benefit, for far away family, and for anyone who may be still hanging around after this long absence.