Day 17: Things Lost, Things Found

Somewhere during the move from Waco to Houston to Cambodia, and then from Cambodia back to Houston to Waco, I lost some things. My lunch bag, my copy of Baby Mama (which was the only movie I owned, so that's extra sad), a book by Brene Brown. Other things reappeared I hadn't even known I'd lost, like a storage rack and miniature fan. When I think of something I know I own (or used to own, at least) and can't find it, I sort through every box in my apartment and scour my shelves. It drives me crazy because rarely do I lose things.

It's been a tough reality to face, but sometimes things simply get lost in the move. They mysteriously disappear, likes socks being eaten by the dryer (I didn't use to believe dryers ate socks till I did laundry in my freshman dorm. They were there when I moved the laundry from washer to dryer, so how did I always come up one sock short when I took them out of the dryer?). As time goes on, different situations arise in which I need different items, and I'm slowly realizing I lost a lot more stuff than I thought I did.

The same is true with thought processes and perspectives and even friendships. Some things were simply lost in the move. Slowly, with time - or sometimes very quickly and all at once -  I realize another thing I lost, and another, and another. The ability to spend a lot of money on clothes, or furniture, or anything, really. The ease of relating to first world problems. The ease of relating to first world people. In the move back to America, I lost the ease of communicating with people in Cambodia. Nearly every single one of my relationships have taken some kind of hit in the past year.

I'm still hoping there's a box somewhere out there I've overlooked with all my missing possessions safely tucked away in it, but there is no box for these intangible losses. This is where grieving comes in.

I've talked enough about grief lately, though. Though so many things have been lost (very important things like Baby Mama), things have been found, too. Unexpected new things I didn't know I acquired, gifts generously given to me by others, and things I had formerly but forgot and now am rediscovering.

The skill of hand washing clothes, the desire to drink tap water and take cold showers, and global friendships. An outlook on life with a looser grip on entitlement. A reality check reminding me I still desperately need Jesus for mental, emotional, and spiritual health during these life-altering transitions. A pair of knock-off Ray Bans, the comfiest t-shirts, a necklace with my Khmer name, a bracelet one of my students made me. Each day I treasure these things, these things found and gained and received as gifts from others. These things I didn't have before I moved, but now I have.

Confidence my God is for me and with me. Belief Jesus wants to sit with me. No matter what. Even if it requires Him dying on the cross, because being with someone is the essence of relationship, and relationship is the Gospel.

A nearness and an experience of the tenderness of Father, witnessing His patience during my anger and temper tantrums and outbursts and breakdowns, seeing He is big enough to handle it all. Seeing how He loves me in it all, and still afterward. Pressing in to His heartbeat as I grieve and He grieves, grieving loss and injustices and death and distance (distance separating me from those in Cambodia, between people and God, between hearts and truth).

An unveiling of my weaknesses and a downpour of humility crashing over my head as I face sin, addiction, and unhealthiness in the core of my person. This, too, is something valuable found. With humility comes the joyful acceptance of grace, with facing my weaknesses and sins comes unbelievable freedom in Jesus, and with changes in the core of my person to align with Truth comes rest. Sweet, peaceful, jubilant rest.

In moves like this, things sometimes simply get lost. But I'm not sure I've ever found so many riches in a move like this before. I still hope I find that Brene Brown book and Baby Mama, and I will still grieve the greater things I have lost, but, too, I will rejoice and cry tears of joy over the great riches I have found as a result of this move.