It often happens like this. I will be doing something far from unusual, like doing the dishes, or laundry, or turning left at a junction and suddenly what I'm seeing adds an extra layer. I see a Papua New Guinean lady walking along the road, feel an absent friend's hand on my shoulder or a mixture of many memories, all at once, overwhelming, and then gone. These moments cause me to turn from life here, to life there and then back. There is so much turning in transition. I am dizzy.
It's four months since we left PNG and things are going okay. Duncan is enjoying his new role with the Wales Air Ambulance, Reuben has started school, Rosa is exploding with thousands of new words and I am somewhere in the middle, turning between, turning behind, trying to turn forward. We are frequently asked if we are 'settling' and I suppose we are, but in a 'I'm trying to grab scattered bits and pin them down' kind of a way. Any one bit might spring back and hit me in the face at any moment and remind me that true settling is going to take a while.
A few things have caught me out in the glorious fun that is re-entering life here. For example, who knew there were so many different ways to pay for car parking now? - or not pay, even though you definitely did. The wonders of 'contactless' payment, all the many million passwords, WhatsApp and hybrid cars. We have felt incredibly fortunate to have friends and family to help us navigate it all, start the settling thing and realise we are here now. The tricky bit is that I feel that in all this discovery and re-discovery, there is a forgetting and I'm not comfortable with that. You know when you're grieving for someone and something means you forget for a minute and then you remember again and it's fresh again and...yeah, it's like that. I don't want to forget but it's not healthy to remember all the time either. It can feel like our old life suddenly has nothing to do with the new one. But it does. Oh it does. We are different and in spite of all the unease, of all the missing people and the purpose we had, we still have steady peace that it is right to be back now. But peace doesn't hold off grief and that's okay. Our heads are still spinning from turning in so many directions, but there will be a settling and when it truly comes I hope we will be able to see how God has blended it all together to make us what He want us to be right here, right now.
We want to say a huge thank you to those of you who have encouraged us during our time with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea. Thank you too for reading this blog and sharing in it all. I wish I had the words to say what it has all been like. I've found a few along the way, but none of them capture it, or more importantly, the immense and complete grace of our wonderful God through it all. We know that most of you think we are bonkers, but our prayer is that you too will experience God's grace in your lives and you don't have to move to Papua New Guinea to find Him. He's right here, right now, waiting for us all to turn to Him. That's the turning I am going to be working on.
Yesterday, I realised that we haven't seen Autumn for four years. Last time, we had just had Reuben. As I walked through the gorgeous blaze of colours at a local National Trust garden with our new son strapped to my chest, I reflected on change, surprises, the turning of the season and miracles. In this new turning, I feel the same and for these last words, I am once again lost in the wonder of it all.