Monday, January 13, 2014

Yeah, so I went to Oregon

I have been meaning to write since I have returned to Garland from Oregon, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it, until now.

Here's a picture I took from the airplane
I find that life tends to get messy in the times that you least expect it, or rather, in the times that you least need it. Although, who needs "messy" anyways?
The "messy" factor happened to me the week of my departure for Oregon. Up until then, everything was going smoothly. I found out the truth about friendships, I started experiencing extreme financial struggles (like $20 in my account to last me for 2 weeks kind of struggles), and oh yeah--I totaled my car. What a wonderful way to start out the Christmas Season! It's safe to say that my trip back home was more than necessary.

I have only been on a plane a handful of times in my life, but for whatever reason, every time that I get on a plane I make connections with people and we end up carrying on conversations that last the entire flight. This time I had an aisle seat in a three-seat row (that sentence feels improper...). Anyways, in the middle seat sat a man in his late twenties-early thirties, named Ravi and in the window-seat, a young man around my age, named Silas. As always, I started the conversation, but I'm glad I did. Ravi was on his way to Oregon from his home in Florida, to meet the family of a girl that he has been talking to since July. He was very nervous, as he would be meeting not only her immediate family, but her extended family as well. He said that he really liked this girl a lot, and that things may be getting serious. I asked him if marriage was in the cards, or if love was in the air? He said that he could definitely see himself marrying her, but that love was a strong word to throw around (typical guy? Ok, that was sexist. I apologize to any males reading this). However, he did think that love was definitely and potentially a close emotion. His love story was romantic. Strange, but romantic. Both he and his female friend, (he thought "girlfriend" was a strong title as of yet) have family that live in England. Somehow the grandmothers knew each other and decided that their grandchildren would be a good match for one another. Ravi's grandma told him of this girl and gave him her phone number, encouraging him to get to know her and see if anything developed. Ravi, coming from a traditional Indian family, was quite used to failed matchmaking attempts on his family's part, but decided to reach out to her anyways. Long and beautiful story short (remember, I talked to this guy for 4 hours!), they are a lovely match.
Silas was a bit more soft spoken, but I found out that he is from Newberg, OR and that he has two older siblings. He, like me, was just going home for the week of Christmas. He is attending a college in Tennessee and this was his connecting flight home.
I honestly don't know why, but I haven't been able to forget these encounters. I know that everything happens for a reason and every single interaction is significant, but I can't figure out how. When my parents and sister came to pick me up, they found me talking with Ravi and walking with him as he apprehensively approached his girlfriend (really, that's what she is) and her mother. Before he left, he stopped by me and let me know that it was going well. I wished him luck and he went on his way. I didn't get a chance to say farewell to Silas, but I figured he found his family.

Speaking of family, mine is a blessing to me and I really don't know what I would do without them. My visit was just as emotional as I predicted it would be. Of course, I was in a weakened state of mind due to the "messy factor", but it was so much more than that.
Being so far away really didn't bother me until I saw everyone. Seeing my family and friends and realizing that life has indeed continued without me, bothered me in a way that I did not expect at all. My friends are all getting ready to graduate college or transfer to universities, they are getting into serious relationships, they are starting their own businesses; they are becoming adults. My family is the same, but different. I'm not there, yet they seem to be fine. I felt jealous of the time that I have lost and will never get back. I missed my cats. My cat missed me, but yet, she was fine.
It was so nice to reconnect with my parents, my sister, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, but there was something left unspoken in the air. As if my moving had changed everything, but none of us would or could address it. My time was vanishing before our eyes, and we all knew it. It was a heartbreak that I cant even describe if I wanted to.

Some changes are good though. For example, me. The things that God is allowing me to experience and the opportunities that He has given me. My home church pastor gave me the unique opportunity to speak to the congregation during the mid-week service. I spoke about North Cities and why I believe there is revival there. I spoke about the amazing gift of God's love and mercy and about how we, as ambassadors of Christ, need to love people for who they are and for where they are at in life. It is not our job to change people. It is our job to love people, reach out to them, be involved in their lives. It's that simple.
Living Waters Fellowship (my home church) is also seeing revival. They are now in a new building and most of the congregation consisted of new faces that I did not recognize. I was encouraged to see the growth and to experience the same move of God in Oregon that I experience every service here in Texas. God is moving in Oregon.

 My visit was short lived, and by the end of it, I started debating whether or not it was really God's will for me to return here to Texas. I started grasping at straws, trying to find any excuse to stay. In the end, I knew I had to leave. Leaving was nothing short of torture.
My dad took me to the airport. My mom had to work and my sister was running a 102 degree fever. Unfortunately, neither of us are very good at goodbyes. I couldn't help it, but as my dad was walking me to the security line, I began to bawl like a baby. The silent, but painful kind of bawling, where your chest feels like it's caving in and it's hard to breathe kind of bawling. My dad began to tell me how much he loved me and how much he would miss me and then we hugged goodbye. I got in line and turned around, he was gone. I wouldn't have hesitated to do the same, if I didn't have to stand in the stupid security checkpoint line! Of course, everything takes longer when you are in a rush, and I was in a rush to get through security and away from all of the people staring at my red and puffy tear-stained face.

I have to admit that ever since visiting Oregon, I haven't been the same. I know I should be here in Texas, but I don't want to be here.
Maybe this feeling will pass, maybe it's just part of growing up and making impossibly difficult and painful decisions. I don't know, but I think I have finally experienced the truest symptoms of "home sickness".