Option 1 was that at some point, whenever that was, you'd have to leave whatever country you had moved to. Even then I knew how gut wrenching that would be and I didn't want to go through it. Option 2 was to stay forever and not come back, which sounded as horrible then as it does now, and feels totally out of the question for me. Either way, once you move overseas you spend the rest of your life being cut off and far away from people and places that are a huge part of your heart.
Pretty much everyone experiences fear when they move to a new country, but I've realized lately that the fear I felt when I left for Argentina and then when I moved to Thailand was a different fear than what you would expect. I was never afraid of liking it or doing well or even of being far from home. No, I was afraid of loving it too much, of never being able to tear myself away to come back, and yet not being able to stay forever.
In some ways my worst fears have come true. I loved Argentina, came into my own there, and to this day grieve my departure. I love my life and job in Bangkok and don't know when I will come back, even as I miss people here with everything in me. And there are new fears too, that a friend recently articulated on Facebook, fears that when I visit the States (or when I visited Argentina) I might love it too much, might enjoy my time too much, and might not be able to go back. How contradictory to fear loving each place too much.
So how does one handle it? How do you live fully present in your day to day life knowing that you are missing the changing of the seasons, the annual family weekend up north, the nephew's snuggles and laughs, the milestones in friends' lives? How do you be fully there when you visit, knowing you don't quite fit anymore, that shopping and dinners and travels aren't real life and that real life- in all its glory and mess- is coming back? You do it knowing that in each individual moment and day, you are right where you are supposed to be, where God has you to be. When I lay Elliot down for his nap, missing my life and routine and normalcy, I know that all those things can wait for me while I snuggle him to sleep. When I walk through an ordinary Bangkok weekend knowing that my family is gathering back home at my cousin's wedding, I know that my classroom was just where I was meant to be that week. Yes, there are days where the contrast is stronger or cuts more deeply, but even still we learn to walk in the hurt knowing that the deeper we love the more pain it will bring, and having the courage not to be afraid in the face of it, the courage to go anyway, knowing that your God goes with you and that life will never be the same.