This is my first blog since I have returned from serving as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And I have wanted to jump back into blogging for quite some time but haven't felt able to really express how I am feeling. I am definitely happy to see my family and those I love again:
(there are many of you. I just didn't want to include 100 pictures)
And although I have enjoyed catching up and spending time with people I have also experienced serious "mission blues." which seem to be common among returned missionaries who enjoyed their time serving.
For the last few weeks I have done what I usually do and ignore these feelings and tried to be logical and stayed busy but that wasn't really helping. So today I was trying to be meta-cognitive.
And I think I am starting to better understand what returned missionaries are actually feeling.
Growing up and most of our lives, we are surrounded by the same solid group of people, normally. Yes friends change, and people grow up but the people we are closest too tend to be around us. We as human beings, change and grow, but when you are around people frequently, those changes are slow and almost imperceptible. And when people do change overnight others are skeptical and a little worried.
However, the things around us do change a lot. You change grades, or you move or get a new toy. Your circumstances differentiate.
So we grow up unconsciously thinking that things change and people do not.
When you return home from a mission, you have changed a lot (hopefully) but it has been a year and a half or two years since you have seen people and things. The crazy part is, it's the exact opposite of what you grew up with. PEOPLE have changed. And the THINGS have not.
In my case, my room looked the same, my clothes were the same, the Christmas decorations were the same. Now I am at the SAME university, living in the SAME complex as before, walking past the SAME things and doing the SAME things, but I am different and the people are different. People have gotten married, babies have been born, people are either doing much better or worse and very few of them are exactly how you left them.
Because of that, it just feels uncomfortable, like you should know exactly what is going on, but you don't, because all the THINGS that haven't changed don't seem to fit anymore because you are different. That is the reason, we foolishly think "I wish I could just go back." Because on the mission you knew just how the changing things fit and the people (other missionaries at least) were all a lot alike.
Luckily reflecting on this has helped me realize WHY it is so important that we do come back and begin again. We have to know how to change and make changes even when things around us do not change. We must learn to love especially those who have changed so drastically.
I am grateful for the time I had to serve as a full time missionary and I am grateful for this new challenge and new reality.