“Are You Happy to be Home?”  (Written in 2016)

This blog post is about 5 months late.

I started writing this a few weeks after my trip to Peru had ended, but I’m completing and posting it now because:

a) I was too sad to complete and post it when I began writing it.

b) The words weren’t coming and my thoughts were so mangled.

c) I forgot about it..

But now that some time has passed and I’ve been able to reflect on my amazing trip to Puerto Maldonado, Peru, and process all that I learned, I think I can finish writing this.

Anyways. The title of this post is the question that everyone in my life greeted me with upon my returnal. Each time it caught me off guard, even though I knew it was coming. This, along with “What was the best part?” and “What did you learn?” was a hard, hard answer to give.

Leaving Peru was very sad for me. Yet every time someone asked me this tired question, I covered up how deeply sad and confused I was with “Well, it’s definitely a lot colder in this country”, and cue awkward laughter that I hid behind.

Then I began telling them all about the monkey, and the food, and the wonderful people.

I told the ones who really wanteto know about that time I got lost via motorcyle (Read about this HERE.) I tell them about Machu Picchu and how remarkably breathtaking it was. I tell them about sweet Aaron, the baby born to an incredible woman who was just too little to survive. I talk about the wonderful Blackburn family, and the church, and the library.  I talk about how I picked up a surprising amount of Spanish, and have grown to love the language

There are so many great things to say about my trip to Peru.

What I failed to tell them (And still occasionally do), is how hard it was for me to come back to Canada.

I left out how I was feeling.

I left out what Jesus really taught me: That He knows me.

He knows me.

He knows me. 

This lesson began only a few weeks into the trip. We were driving to the Blackburn’s house, and I was thinking about how much I already liked Peru. These thoughts took a sad turn when I thought about leaving. Why was I thinking about leaving when I had just gotten there? Because I’m crazy! But I was listening to my iPod and “You Know Me” by Bethel came on. And as these lyrics played into my ears, my heart proclaimed them to Jesus 

“Nothing is hidden from Your sight,

Wherever I go, You find me. 

You know every detail of my life, 

You are God, and You don’t miss a thing” 

This was so comforting to me. He knew the details of my sorrow. The intricate thoughts that my heart was feeling – the precursor to what I would feel later.  I sat there, taking in my surroundings and taking in Jesus sitting right there with me. Taking in the fact that he would always be sitting right there with me.

On our last full night in Peru, I was so very sad.

While everyone was watching a movie together, I took a wonderfully cold shower and cried out to my Jesus. I was playing music from my phone and pouring my heart out in salty liquid form. Because I could not keep it in. So I stood there in the freezing cold water sprinkled with salty tears, and just let myself be sad with Jesus. I think I recall the power going out halfway through the shower, so then I was showering in the dark. 🙂

And what song comes on? You Know Me. I sobbed some more. (I’m emotional…) And Jesus held me tightly that last night in Peru.

On the flight home the next day, I cried. I tried to hold back the waterfalls but there was such an overflow.  My dear friend Aliza comforted me as I shared the sinking feeling that had been invading my heart that day. She told me that I could cry in front of her whenever I wanted to, and I didn’t have to hide the fact that I was sad.

The same goes for Jesus. I don’t have to pretend I’m not sad with him. I don’t have to hold myself together. Because He knows me anyways, and for me to try to hide my feelings from him is wasting my efforts. I cannot hide, nor do I want to. He is the safest place to rest and simply be who we are and feel what we’re feeling with no masks.

I had really tried to hide that I was sad from those who were around me. I didn’t want them all to know I was sad – not because I don’t trust them (because I really, really do), but because I didn’t want to place that burden upon them. So I thought it was best not to express it.

On that flight I stumbled across this verse:

“All my longings lie open before you Lord, my sighing is not hidden from you.”
-Psalm 38:9

Every now and then I find myself reminiscing on those wonderful 6 weeks in Peru, and missing it so terribly. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally even get emotional thinking about my wonderful friend Tat (who’s coming home so soon!!) and her incredible family, and Jack the monkey. (I kid you not, I’ve shed a few tears thinking about precious JackJack.) I love seeing all the incredible work God is doing through them – when I hear their stories and updates I can see that God is moving. I am so proud of all they are doing and I love their compassionate hearts for the people of Peru. There’s been a few times when I’ve choked up when talking about Peru. Jesus really touched my heart while I was in that gorgeous jungle city, and He knows every feeling and thought that goes along with every second of the trip.

Jesus sees me in the times when I miss Peru. My sighing is not hidden from him.

Jesus is my constant companion – the friend who goes before me, guiding each step, yet also following me wherever I go. In every country. In every season. In every group of people. In every joy and every heartbreak.

The same God who walked with me in Canada, walked with my in Peru. It was the same God who comforted me as I sobbed in Peru on the flight home as the God who sat with me in silence when I returned to my room in Canada with a racing mind and heart. He listened as I asked “Now what?” and as I struggled to conjure up things to say to those who wondered if I was happy to be home. None of these feelings are hidden from him.

I cannot hide from Jesus.

He knows me.