We're Back! The group landed Wednesday afternoon at Chicago O'hare, after having little trouble on the the trip home. Our odyssey spanning halfway across the globe came to an anticlimactic end as we grabbed our luggage, said goodbyes, and dispersed in all different directions. It felt good to return to somewhere familiar, climb into my own bed and fall asleep. I had been looking forward to going home, seeing friends, sharing stories. Even just being able to drink as much tap water as I wanted without getting a visit from a friend was a welcome fantasy. I went to sleep with a smile on my face that night, but the feeling of being content quickly faded. Waking up the next morning, I felt empty.
Just the other day I was remarking at the glory of the clouds swiftly rolling off the immense Table Mountain, wearing just a tshirt, and a pair of khaki shorts and sandals. Today, I'm watching the snow fall softly to the ground, covered in head to toe with clothes that cover my sunkissed skin. Nothing here has changed since I left at the beginning of the month, but I myself have changed drastically. I've been places, seen things, felt feelings far different from anything that could happen here. I've seen striking natural beauty in Etosha National Park that has no parallel anywhere else on Earth. I've tried to grasp at the struggles of those living a level of poverty far more jarring than anything the US. It doesn't seem natural to experience such strong experiences only to be thrown back into the business as usual mindset. It doesn't seem natural to have spent all of those life changing moments with the same 26 people for the entire month, and just leave them with a simple hug and goodbye.
Unfortunately, this is the way it has to be. The group will meet again next Friday, February 9, for a homecoming concert (7 p.m. in the NRH), and we'll stay in touch after that, but almost everyone we involve in our lives after that won't have had the experience our choir had. Our friends at home don't know the students of Oshigambo High School or the sweet children living in the townships of Cape Town. Our family hasn't felt the warm welcome from the brothers and sisters of Eureka Lutheran in Elsie's River or the Oniipa Cathedral. Those we argue with, don't know what it's like to have no economic mobility regardless of how hard you work. Even more, they may never know these experiences. They won't see the world in the same way, but that is alright. We will share our experiences with those who lend their ears, but even if they won't listen and we have no one to share with, that is alright. We will still tell them to "feel at home."
Soli Deo Gloria,