This reflective post from 2014 seems relevant today, although the situation has changed and the woods seem never-ending.
Those who have read the Magicians Nephew by CS Lewis, will recognise the wood between the worlds as the place that travellers pass through on their way from one world to another.
That’s more or less where I am living at the moment.
My worlds are my former role as Executive Director for Wycliffe Bible Translators and my future one as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Global Connections and the wood between them is called a sabbatical.
It’s a strange place to be and I’m not convinced that I like it.
It is a privilege to have time to study and to write; the problem is that I’ve got a lot of things to read and even more to write, so I actually feel under a fair bit of pressure, which I don’t think is the idea. I’m also having to learn to read for academic purposes, rather than just reading for my own enjoyment and enlightenment. Taking time to make notes on the books I read and to make sure that I can find them again goes against both my personality and years of academic inactivity. It’s a hard lesson to learn over again (especially at my advanced age).
However, the thing that I’m struggling with most is stepping away from leadership in Wycliffe. For twenty years or so, I’ve been attending workshops and conferences around the world. I enjoyed some of the conferences and I always enjoyed bumping into friends in exotic places. I sometimes wish I had more friends who lived just around the corner, but I love the fact that I have friends from all around the world. It’s wonderful to see posts on Facebook from people I know and care about as they get together for some meetings on the other side of the world; but it hurts that I’m not there with them.
I know that this is where I am supposed to be at the moment. I’m moving in to another stage of life; one that will involve far less long-distance travel. This is the right thing to do, but it isn’t easy.
When we first went out to Africa in 1988, it felt like a huge sacrifice; leaving friends and family for an uncertain future. Twenty six years later, it feels very similar as I resign myself to working in the UK.
I’m sure that things will improve when I finally get my teeth into my new job; but for the moment, I feel rather homesick. Which is odd, because I’m living and working from home.