Rushing to our local grocery store, Melanie and I searched for a plant. Outside the busy marketplace, a flora and fauna menagerie stood before us. We were working on a project for our virtual debrief class. In our organization, debrief is the process of acclimating back to one’s home culture by participating in group sessions to verbally process your international assignment. Feeling hurried by passersby, I spotted small temporary plastic containers filled with green shoots and tiny leaves. Plants inside were healthy, so I grabbed one and entered the crowded store to make a purchase. “Texas bluebonnets” read the label on the plastic pot that fit into the palm of my hand.
The plant assignment I learned was a visual representation of the transition process back to the US. During the virtual debrief session, the facilitator explained we needed to transfer the plant into a new pot. The instructions were to uproot the plant, shake off the old soil to expose the roots and then replant into new soil in a new pot. Looking at my virtual class of returning missionaries, I saw my completed assignment next to my laptop. My plant Bluey was still contained in his temporary pot, inside an empty new bigger ceramic pot.
It’s been a little over three months since my family returned from South Africa. Christmas holidays with family, father-in-law’s court case, trips to Arkansas and Arizona, having an emergency appendectomy, my 45th birthday, my girls adjusting to school, my son preparing for university, son obtaining his drivers’ license, celebrating my grandmother’s 85th birthday, mourning the death of my last grandfather this past week… Today my wife shared Bluey doesn’t look well. It’s been a couple weeks, and the plant was wilting. Pray for me and my family as we continue to adjust to life back in the US. After the funeral of my grandfather on April 8, it will be great to see you. I am going to take Bluey out of the pot, shake off the old soil to expose the roots and replant into the new soil in the new pot. Pray for me.
Leon Best, Jr.