I feel a strange mix of swirling emotions as we begin to realize that our “adventure of a life time” is beginning to come to an end. Our official return date has been firmly established as June 19th, exactly one month from today. Upon reflection, I have begun to see that this trip was more like a pilgrimage than anything else. A pilgrimage is defined as “A journey to a sacred place for religious reasons.” We did not realize that we had, in fact, set out on a pilgrimage when we first began, but it is now quite obvious to me that this is truly the case. I must admit I have had little experience with pilgrimage before in my lifetime.
My deepest thought about a pilgrimage is that the returning pilgrim can never be the same again. I made a mention of this in a previous blog, but this thought is so strong in me now that it is worth repeating. As we think about returning home, we are challenged to consider how to reintegrate into life. This is the strange mix of emotions that I mentioned earlier. How can we enter back into the life we have always known when we have been forever changed? What will our “new life” be like now that we have experienced such a life changing voyage? Will our “old life” be compatible with our “new life” or will our “old life” require a complete overhaul? What will our friends and family think of the changes that have taken place in us during our time away? What changes await us in the future due to the changes we have experienced on this journey? All of these questions, and more, swirl around in our hearts and mix themselves with our feelings of missing everything back home- missing all our family, friends and everyone else who has been so supportive of us during our time away.
We deeply miss and long to see everyone of you who have so patiently awaited our return. We now no longer feel how long it will be until we are home, but feel the closeness of our arrival back. We are challenged to stay present in the moments we have left on this trip and enjoy every last experience as we are distracted by thoughts of returning to what we left behind. This trip has been so good, yet we long to embrace those we deeply love. We have learned and we have changed so much, and our love for everyone has grown more complete in way that only a trip like this could invoke.
Both joy and butterflies, mix with a triumphal sense of completion as we anticipate our arrival back home in the soon coming days ahead. “We can never be the same again” is the mantra that continually repeats itself inside my head as I consider the days ahead. A deep curiosity compels me now to wonder what the future will hold.