Thursday, April 21, 2016

5 Stages of Home(less) Assignment

Deb Berruti, a global worker in Niger writes about the 5 Stages of Home(less) Assignment, an entertaining look at what it's like to return to our home countries and the emotions that follow us. She suggests we start with denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

When I first read this article, I laughed aloud and thought "no way! I haven't gone through all of that..." and then reality set in. Hehehe. Actually, it's far more true than I want to admit! In fact, I remember all too clearly from my last home assignment both the hilarious (such as the euphoria when I flew back the first time and was handed grapes as part of my in-flight meal and the soft seats and the air conditioning and the clean bathrooms!!) and the shameful (striking cruelly against others' choices of technology use, muttering judgmental thoughts while sitting in church, plowing through periods of depression and burnout).

In fact, I would argue that the 5 stages aren't necessarily a linear progression. They are probably more like this:

As I've been getting ready to return to the US for the second time, I've been trying to reflect on the ups and downs of last time...and maybe, attempt not to make the same mistakes as I did before (so I can make new ones this time...or if I do decide to repeat history, then maybe I can do a slightly better job of dealing with them!).

So I've been asking myself, what are the topics that push my buttons? What am I particularly sensitized to due to the life and sin patterns of the culture that I live in currently compared to the challenges of the culture to which I'm heading? How is it that I can live displaying the fruit of the Spirit in the midst of these various stages of transition? (Obviously I can only do it by the grace of God!) How can I accept these emotions and processing as "normal" but do it in a healthy way that doesn't cause me to damage those friends and family who are walking with me through this?

There are plenty of resources, but no easy answers! I'm grateful for the mercy and grace extended to me as a fellow human sinner, and for the support of many who have gone before! Thank you for walking with me through all these different stages!