6. A furlough is one of the best “weight-gain” plans out there. It’s sort of like pregnancy, but with furlough, the cravings occur every-mester. During furlough, scales become toxic and should be avoided at all cost. No worries, though, ’cause if you’re wondering whether or not you’ve gained weight, just get back on the plane and return to the foreign field. Your neighbors will poke your belly, tell you you’re much fatter than before, and smile. God bless ’em.
5. A furlough is great practice for dying. No, really. You get the unique chance to look back on your life (or term) and justify your existence to anyone who wants to listen (or send you money). You get all things “in order” for your departure, making sure all will go well during your absence. You make sure pets are taken care of. You make sure all the important documents are up to date and easily findable. You prepare yourself and your loved ones for “a long journey” that will be worth it because, at the end of it all, there will be Chick-Fil-A. And grandma.
4. A furlough’s like a really long vacation. Who else gets to take months off at a time? Actually, on furlough, you’re sort of like a backpacker, but without the dreadlocks. Or the pot. (Please note the sarcasm. About the vacation part.)
3. Potable water. It’s in the pipes, people! What kind of alternate universe are we in? On our first furlough, my son took a break at the public park, stating he was thirsty. When I pointed him to the water fountain, he looked at me incredulously and said, “Is it safe?” “Yup.” “For real? And it’s free?” “Yup.” “WOW! That is so nice!” I won’t tell you what he said about the toilet.
2. You get to trade in friend-sets. With a furlough, it’s sort of like you get to have two lives, but without all the complications (and secrets, which make for great TV but bad newsletters). Want to reboot your friend-set to a prior decade of life? Simply hitch a ride on a big metal tube with movies and free toothbrushes and you’ll be on your way. But be warned, as with all time travel, weird things (like fanny packs and self-check out lines) happen.
(And now for a serious one to justify the time you just wasted reading this list. Unless you’re reading this while on vacation, I mean, furlough.)
1. You get to share (and listen to) the Story of Stories in your own heart language. Yes, the Gospel is amazing in any language, but when it’s your language, when those are the actual words you first heard when you first heard Jesus, something magical happens. The Gospel is omni-cultural, for sure, but it’s also inherently personal. And the honor of serving in the churches that birthed you, that sent you, that love you, well that’s something to write home about.
8 thoughts on “6 Reasons Furloughs are Awesome (sort of)”
This is great. Having just returned from a three month furlough, can totally identify. One of the funnest things is seeing your home country through the foreign country eyes of your kids. Great post!
Ha! You’re right about the “foreign country eyes of your kids.” When we landed in Chicago for the first time back, one of my sons yelled out, “CARPET!” : )
Loved the sarcastic “vacation” part! Most people think its a vacation. You come back to the field needing a vacation:)
Jen, at first I didn’t specifically identify that paragraph as sarcastic, but I thought, “Shoot, I don’t want people to think that I actually think furlough IS vacation! That’d be terrible!” Thanks for stopping by!
I never knew what to say to people who asked “How is your vacation going?” We only ever took summer furloughs to not interrupt our kids’ schooling so the were short, fast, and furious! But for me they were weight loss. I looked at all those obese Americans stuffing themselves with high calorie food and I would lose my appetite. Funny, now that I live in the states and minister from here, it doesn’t have the same effect!
That “vacation” question is one of the hardest, because I realize that to someone who’s never done it, it really does look like vacation or time off or whatever. And the whole size difference thing! We’re in southeast Asia, right, so the average size is very small, even if you’re just talking about height, so that was a huge shock. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people my own size. Weird!
Thank you for putting into words the humor from a missionaries perspective! !
You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by, Genavie! — Jonathan T.