27 July 2010

Thoughts on Being Back

I was going to post this for our one month/4 week "anniversary" but life was busy and I couldn't quite get my thoughts together. But I think this 6 week update will suffice better anyways.

So after 6 weeks of being back in the U.S. I'm still hesitant when I cross the street because I am unsure which way traffic will be approaching me. I almost always still want to look right-left-right, instead of left-right-left. Thankfully my driving doesn't seem to have suffered too much except for the one minor "freak out" moment I had last week when I pulled onto a 2 lane road where there was no traffic. As I pulled out I thought I was going to the wrong side of the road, but turns out I was headed to the right side which in this country is the right side to be on, so it was all okay. Just a mere .5 second adrenaline rush. I'm glad that doesn't happen too often.
I have discovered I miss my local Scottish grocery store, Sainsbury's, way more than I thought I would. I mean, I knew I was going to miss my granola cereal from there, my Frutis granola bars (though, brought some with me and am just now down to my last 3), and my oatcakes (I have still had those too - just down to my last two packets now. Sad!), and we knew Mark would miss his Milk Chocolate Digestive biscuits, but I was unprepared to miss the produce section (especially £1.50 amazing pineapple or £1 for 8 kiwi) or dried fruit and nut section. I am slowly figuring out where I can get the best selection of those items without paying an arm and a leg. Still, I obviously got more used to it than I realized and have walked out of a grocery store dejected more than once.

Just like when you go to a new country for the first time and are more aware of everything around you, I have had that on some level here too. One thing I have really noticed this time being here is the prevalence of obesity. I mean, I have heard repeatedly that obesity is endemic in the U.S. but never noticed it like I have recently. It's not that there aren't overweight people in Scotland, because there are. I just knew or saw much fewer obese people. Its actually quite disturbing to realize how many people here are eating themselves to the grave.

Most other changes I've noticed have been of the imperceptible kind - like I know they are there, I know I am different, I know I think differently than a typical American (or even American believer) but can't quite pinpoint why. Every now and then someone will say something or do something that before moving to Scotland I would have dismissed or not noticed, but now I notice it, think about it and more than likely disagree or find it not quite how I would see things. Maybe at some point I will be able to put into words what those things are exactly. Or maybe not.
I think more than ever before I am now faced with the desire to live "the American Dream." It's more than slightly depressing to be nearly 32 (and 35, if I can speak for Mark too) and have no home to call our own (and living with mom/dad (though we are no doubt incredibly grateful to be here!), no jobs (though I'm working hard on creating a photography one and Mark is definitely still working hard on his thesis), no children, and no "real security" (from a worldly, financial standpoint, that is) to speak of. However, in the midst of struggling through some of these thoughts I saw my dad reading "Radical" by David Platt. He's actually challenging the entire church to read the book so Mark and I have both started reading it.

If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, you need to ASAP! It is phenomenal. Or maybe I should say phenomenally challenging. Reading the book has been a refreshing reminder of why we don't have so many of the things I want right now. A reminder of why we have sacrificed so much for Mark to follow what he believes (and I support) God wants him to do with his life. It's all been for God, Jesus, the Gospel -- they are all undoubtedly worth every last sacrifice and anything that we don't have that I am desiring. I've been exhorted that I indeed have been given much! I have been given the thing I need MOST in this life - a Savior and forgiveness of my sins. And also other needs and wants abundantly provided for. Speaking of which, I've been humbled by how God has provided for us during this transition time. Money has come from some unexpected sources and God is most certainly providing for our needs.  Anyways, I'm sure at some point you'll be hearing more on this book....until then, go read it!

So that's my lengthy and unrelated thoughts on life back in the good 'ole U.S. of A. Thanks to those of you who made it this far!

***Some of these flag photos I took on or around the 4th of July (which really did deserve it's own post) but just never got around to posting. The rest are from my trip to Philly. Oh, and the first one was to record the little note and flags my mom left on our bedside table the very late night we returned "home." It was a very happy sight! Thanks, Mom!


Allison said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and re-entry reflections. It is difficult to not be overcome by the American dream forgetting what the Lord has called you too may be totally different than that. We miss you guys!

Becky said...

If I were to articulate one major thing that I learned in Aberdeen and that is totally counter-cultural in the US, hold your possessions, titles, accomplishments, everything lightly. Cling to Jesus. He is our everything. The world measures success in material and ultimately limiting terms. That is not how God measures success. Much love to you both as you navigate your way back "home".

Mark and Rachel said...

Allison, right on. Miss you too!

Becky, so true! Good lessons no matter how hard they are at times to learn.

Dennis, Allison, and Anjela said...

Hey Yall! WE must see you when we come to North Carolina for a visit next month!! We miss you!

Miss Mommy said...

Good, honest words, RO. Love you and miss you!

Joy for the Seasons said...

Appreciate the "fresh" perspective on America. Enjoying seeing your beautiful photos on Facebook!