Since coming to Russia, I have found myself hooked to the television show, “Criminal Minds.” We have all four seasons on DVD and it has become a nightly routine to make dinner and watch a couple episodes. I highly recommend this show, but let me warn you…it goes to your head. I have had several dreams where I am tracking down bad guys or caught in a crossfire. One night we were walking to the guys’ flat and we saw a laser pointer shining on the wall in front of us and I was sure it was a sniper. My heart literally started beating faster and I prayed that God would protect us. Just on Monday there was a man working on the roof of the building across from us, and I thought I should get a good look at his face so I could describe him to the police in case he was actually planting bombs up there. Ridiculous.
But the other night I made a startling realization. As I was sitting in my green chair, enjoying the show, a bit of dread started to creep up on me as I thought of the long day of teaching that awaited me in the morning. So I told myself, “Don’t worry. You just need to make it through the day and by this time tomorrow you will be back in this chair.” Whoa. That is a scary way of thinking. Snap out of it, girlfriend.
Here is the problem. I didn’t move to Russia to sit in a green chair and watch American television.
I’ve been here a month and only now am I really starting to experience moments of homesickness. And this homesickness... it’s not even a feeling of wanting to return home, it's just a feeling of wanting things to feel comfortable and normal. I so admire people who thrive in the face of change, adventure, and the unknown. I am not one of these people. I can continue on, but I am aware of the effort it takes to advance each step of the journey. Unfortunately, transitions and change are not easy roads for me.
Currently, I am missing fall in the northwest. I miss changing leaves, scarves, friends, family, and coffee shop chats. I find I am craving all things cozy. More than that, I am craving things that seem familiar, comfortable, and safe. I want to be in a place where I can understand and be understood…the first time. I long to not worry about getting lost, or doing the wrong thing, or making a fool of myself. Truth is, I don’t consciously worry about these things but I feel my mind and soul relax the moment I walk through the door of my flat and I can stop trying so hard. Perhaps that is why my green chair and "Criminal Minds" have become my place of refuge. It’s on days like these when things seem too difficult, I find myself longing for home; for time spent with family and friends, perhaps over a cup of coffee in familiar surroundings. I long for such things not because they seem better, but sometimes when you’re tired, and cold, and a little bit lonely, they just seem easier.
I guess such obstacles are to be expected and hear me out-I’m not complaining. What good is an easy adventure? Where are the lessons, sense of accomplishment, and growth in walking a paved, flat, clearly marked trail? I’m not asking for easy. Give me a mountain and let me climb. Let me work, and try, and sweat, and cry, just so long as I know there is purpose in the pain and effort. And I know there is. I suspect the view from the top will be the most beautiful I’ve witnessed so far. So thank you, God for this mountain. Give me strength to continue to climb when all I want is a break from the trying. And when I fall, help me to fall back on you.