"You're right on track. It's around month four and five that you generally hit a brick wall."
Sitting across from our base leaders on their recent trip to our town, we recounted the events of the last few weeks. Lots of head nodding sympathy returning to us. They were right, we hit the brick wall full on and it hurt.
Our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days were compounding. My repeated illnesses draining what little energy we had left. I'd stopped worshiping and writing, the very two things that call me back and recenter my heart. I started having dreams about quitting language school and would wake up happy, only to emotionally crash at the realization I hadn't and wouldn't quit. The fact was that life would remain hard for some time to come and we were plum worn out.
"Why don't you take a month off, Anisha? Let your body heal completely and maybe cook some American food? You are doing well with your language. Later if you want to study more you can do another unit, or could even get a tutor in Wamena."
Sometimes you are running so fast that the wall just comes out of no where. Sometimes you need someone from the outside to see clearly for you.
As we recover from the dizziness of a full on collision, the truth comes back into view.
Expectations of what I think I should be capable of are deceiving. There is no shame in resting.
In the wake of abandoning full time classes, my body is finally beginning to feel whole.
I find myself enjoying my family more. My son's day to day behavior has even improved.
Relationships with local friends are more fulfilling. I no longer try to sneak past the open door hoping not to be seen because my brain is too tired to struggle through another conversation.
After five months of being unable to cope with the stress of cooking in a new country, I made pizza from scratch and was able to improvise on the ingredients we can't find locally. The idea of preparing a meal no longer induces panic.
I'm writing again.
I'm worshiping again.
I am enjoying language learning again.
Next week I'll start back with relaxed tutoring sessions on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Without a defined curriculum and the freedom to direct my own learning the tight ball of anxiety in my chest is disappearing.
My wise Mama recently wrote, "You are in Papua for more than this." Yes. We did not come to only burn out emotionally and physically. We are meant for more and sometimes we just need to take a step back and remember the bigger picture.
There is no shame in resting. We'll make it over this wall.