I feel like I’ve been on an extended mission trip. I think that may be the best way to describe it.
I have gone on 5 mission trips, and I have volunteered in some of the worst neighborhoods in the country. While you are raising funds, preparing yourself to go on the trip, getting on the plane, you know that somehow your life is going to be impacted. You go on the trip, and you are pushed to the end of yourself, to the point where you cannot go on for one more step. But, somehow, you do. And you take one more step, and one more step and one more step. And you find yourself caring more about helping the people that surround you more than you care about how exhausted you are. Then, the last day of the trip, you have the “down” day–the day that is supposed to help to prepare you to re-enter the “real” world. Usually, you are sightseeing, so it’s actually one more event that adds to the whole experience. But, the extent of the exhaustion has yet to set in because of more adrenaline.
You fly home. You are excited to go home to tell your stories. You can’t wait to sleep in your own bed. Heck, you cannot wait to take a shower without a line of people waiting behind you. You’d pay money to put on some clean underwear.
Then, the next day, it hits. In the midst of doing laundry, unpacking, answering your cell phone and answering the email that has piled up over the past week, you realize that everything that you are doing really means nothing. At least compared to building houses for those who have none; compared to hugging a child who, less than a week ago, was tied to a pole, naked, physically and sexually abused. You wonder how you can possibly live outside of the mission trip. You start to resent the people who are at home, demanding your attention, your energy to the mundane details of life.
You see, something inside of you changed. You found a passion that perhaps you didn’t know existed; perhaps you lived out a dream that has been deep inside of your heart; perhaps you had the worst week of your life and you’re just ticked off at the world.
Now, I find myself at the end of my work with the Korean company. It was life transformational. It was off the charts in the interesting category. I have developed some great relationships as a result of working there. Relationships that I hope continue to grow in depth for a long time to come. This is the first job that I have left wanting to keep in contact with some people. I have also had some of the most difficult times in my life. My confidence was eroded greatly…and trust was broken so commonly that…yeah…you do the math.
So, I have a week between this job and my next one. I look forward to the challenges that my new job holds. I’m sure that I’ll be a blogging maniac as I work on decompressing. Please be patient. I’m sure that lessons will surface that are applicable to everyone.
One thought on “Decompressing”
There’s something about coming back from a mission trip that leaves you feeling so empty. Sure, you did so much for others- and that is a good thing, but after all is said and done, there’s this void that you’re left with. I think it is because on these trips, a piece of you has been left behind. It is an emotional, spiritual and heartfelt high that can not be explained or replaced by anything else.