Seriously. How did this happen? I have been in France for 45 weeks, and now I have one week left. I can't believe how quickly time has passed. In all honesty, it doesn't seem real that in seven days I will be on the lengthy journey back to the States. A friend of mine said, when she returned to the States, that it seemed almost as if her time in France had been like a dream, which often happens when you return to familiarity after a time away. Not that my life here can be compared to his journey, but I am reminded of what Frodo Baggins says in The Return of the King after he returns to Bag End: "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back?"
Over this last year, there have been many things that have changed, both in my life in France and in my life in America. There is no going back to "normal life" when the definition of normal has changed, and that is as it should be. There are moments that you know immediately will be significant when they happen, but then there are days when nothing seems to happen. However, it is often in those days of the seemingly mundane that your character is shaped. I am so thankful that my year has not been "normal", that I have been challenged and encouraged in the ways that I have been. How great a joy it has been to live here and be with all of those whom I have grown to love so deeply and to learn a fraction more of the character of God by experiencing life in another part of the world He created.