We’re back home, where everything looks the same as when we left, but where nothing will ever be the same again. It just can’t be. Nor do I want it to be. I don’t want to squander this experience. I want God to do incredible transformation through it. I want to be a better husband, father, pastor, and friend because of it. I want to be a better servant to Jesus. I want to be a better ambassador in appealing to others on His behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”
Nor do I want to be healed of my broken heart. There are lingering images in my mind that I will never be able to communicate. Like a man with a hoe turning over the freshest garbage in a heap that was right next to the road as we walked to the medical mission. At first I thought he was turning the new trash under, like composting. As I watched, I realized he was looking for food, or maybe a newer rag to wear. Or the image of so many children at the mission whose lives were so overwhelmed with sadness that they did not interact or smile, even when I initiated. Their smiles were long ago lost, perhaps at the bottom of that rubbish pile. Those images are unpleasant, even haunting, but I refuse to lose them.
Nor do I want the mission trip to end. Only a few weeks ago, our high school and college seniors graduated. That event was marked by a “commencement” exercise. As any Southerner can tell you, to “commence” is to begin. Graduation is not the end, it’s only the beginning. My Father, may the celebration of being home be our commencement.