“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
I’ve spent four months in a strange place. I’ve been away from everything familiar for a third of a year.
Coming home is so beautiful and painful at the same time. In one respect, I’m returning to comfort. My family- people who have known me since I could walk, since I could talk. My roots. The same old pillow, so broken in and sweet. The way spring smells. The feeling of curling up on a chilly night drinking tea with candles lit on my bedside dresser.
But then, in complete silence and idleness, my mind begins to churn. I think back over the past four months and the life I built for myself in Ghana. I think about the people (well, more like just one person…) that I miss. The certain type of beauty that I can’t find here, like working so hard just to get through each day and finally being able to embrace a cold shower and put my feet up, with the fan swirling the night air around my room. The birds in the palm trees outside my airy windows. The smell of Africa. The warm and inviting culture. Being forced to find entertainment in creativity.
But as difficult as the transition period might be, both from America to Ghana and from Ghana to America- every heart ache, every tear, every sleepless night- is worth it. It’s totally worth it. Because as someone really special once quoted in a letter to me:
“If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a healer?
If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a deliverer?
If you never felt sadness, how would you know I am a comforter?
If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I’m a forgiver?
If you never went though fire, then how would you become pure?
If I gave you all things, how would you appreciate them?
If you had all the power, then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for?”
Without imperfections in life, without heart ache or difficulties, there would be no growth. Because when you are down, when your heart is heavy, that means you must endure. You learn how to cope and how to embrace struggles. And through this, a wise, gentle and humbled soul is formed.
I just hope that I won’t forget what this entire journey has taught me. Each day I will wake up and take a moment just to look around and appreciate what I have. Because I know eventually my life will return to how it was when I left, but that doesn’t mean I have to go back to being that person. When deadlines creep in, when drama arises between family and friends, when I get my heart broken or when my day just isn’t going “my way,” I will center myself in peace. In what truly matters. In God. In love.