I go back to work tomorrow.
Eek! and Yay! All at the same time.
I’ve been out of work for four months and four days and I’m struggling to put into words how I feel currently. I’m calling this season The Comeback Tour where I will try to celebrate all the things that were off limits for a long time either due to Covid restrictions or foot restrictions.My life feels like a giant jumble of emotions. I’ve been living these last several days as if I’m returning from international missions travel and and preparing to run a marathon all at the same time. Let me see if I can breakdown these feelings for you:
Returning from Missions: I’ve been overseas with new customs, languages, routines and demands for months. I had to shift myself to fit in with these new demands and grew accustomed to them. But now I have to “unlearn” them in a real way. I have a new language to speak tomorrow. I have to remember my log on at work and recall how to chart things in “therapy-speak” which although it sounds a lot like English, it decidedly not English! I’ve been on the field, living and serving in a unique context. I’m coming home, and although there is some familiarity about home, I’ve been away long enough that home feels like a stranger to me at the same time.
International travel: I have all the components of jet lag and adjusting to a new “time zone” as my bed time and wake up times will be far earlier than they have been during my recovery season. I’ve been getting up a half hour earlier every day in preparation for the time zone shift.
Running a Marathon: Returning to work will be physically and mentally challenging. I am stepping into a river that has been in motion in my absence and must introduce myself to dozens of kids and families and build rapport quickly. They don’t know I’ve worked here for fourteen years, they only know they’ve never seen me before. But I’m familiar with marathons. I can trust that I’ve been in training for many months in preparation for this marathon, but it still feels scary to be standing at the starting line and counting the miles ahead. Every long race I’ve trained for previously came with one goal in my mind: finish in the upright position. I have the same goal for work tomorrow! (and the day after that and the day after that…).
I am ambulatory, but still have weakness, stiffness, tenderness, and fatigue in my foot and leg. I am proud of how far I’ve come and still know that there are months of rehabilitation ahead of me. I am thankful for everyone who has sacrificed and served me these past four months and I will continue to need cheerleaders in this race.
I have my lunch packed, my clothes laid out, my alarm set, and my shoe options ready to go. I like to be prepared for international travel, missions, and marathons. No plane flight, or new language, or fresh relationship, or daunting mile will derail me completely. So forge steadily onward, as I do in every race and every season of life, one step at a time.