Friday, October 17, 2014

Real life

Living cross culturally is amazing. I love the adventures and discoveries you find just by being in a new culture. I have always loved learning about new places and exploring; appreciating all the diversity that God created. I also love my home where I grew up. I love small town Arkansas with its naturally beautiful picnic spots, going to walmart and meeting 12 people you know, quiet streets where kids can ride bikes. I have a crazy adventurous life here, that also has its days of routine. I go to a grocery store and push a cart, just like in America. I drive a car (although there is not what I would call lanes, and red lights seem to be optional unless a police man is near by. Striving to obey the rules is important to me so this pretty much drives me nuts.) I meet with friends and have people over to dinner. I go to church. The boys and I have preschool. I cook meals for my family three times a day. I clean house, play outside at playgrounds, even go to Starbucks. Its just normal life.

But I have this temptation to think that if I just get through this stage that the next one will be when life really begins. I did not even realize I was thinking it until one day it just hit me. I know I am not the only one who falls prey to this mindset. Life is generally seasonal. I love the seasons. Fall is one of the times that its hard to live in a place without an Autumn. (leaves changing. cooler weather. apple cider. anything pumpkin. oh how i love fall.) We need change, breaks from our routines. There are school semesters. Life overseas (at least in our country) we have visa renewal trips every six months. We live here for 3 years then have 6 months in America. We all have times we just have to press on until things change or pressures lessen. I know this is true and the way that God designed the world with seasons change, but I don't think he intended us to just get through things hoping for something better in the next season. Even in the hard seasons, waiting desperately for the next good thing to come only makes us not enjoy the moments we are living in. Be fully where you are. enjoy the days of sunshine and the ones with clouds. One of the best ways to do this is the invest your time in people. love deeply. give of yourself listening to them and their stories, and they will laugh and cry with your through your struggles and joys. There is no substitute for a good friend. I am so blessed that even in a new culture and country, I have found a group of friends who get me. They have given me a deeper love for my host culture and enjoy learning about my home culture and they listen to me explain the things that I miss from home. Its amazing that they all have kids the same age as my boys so all the friends can get together and play every week as we learn and grow to be more Christlike mommas. If I buy into the lie that my real life with be every three years for 6 months with the rest of the time being just work, then I am going to miss out on the whole point of why I am even here on earth!

For my friends who were born and raised here- its REAL life for them, and the only one they know. I try to only say the good things about India, and not complain when things do not go like they "should."  So I was shocked when I realized that the things that annoy me the most also annoy my friends about their own culture. They also get annoyed when people cut in line, or that it takes 45 minutes and four lines to mail a package. They wish people followed the traffic signals and they are bothered by the many beggars on the side of the road. Makes sense. As much as I love some things about America, there are things that I don't like or that annoy me about life there as well. There is no perfect place. (this is earth shattering news for this idealist)

This is also my REAL life. Its not going to begin when I land on US soil... to live in a rented home full of someone else's furniture... with a borrowed car... with all the family going crazy over the kids (knowing time with them is precious) Now don't hear me wrong, I am going to LOVE every minute of being home. Just the thought of seeing family and friends at church, letting the boys ride bikes on the street in front of our house, driving places and no one cuts into my lane and everyone stops at a red light, going through Walmart with a buggy all to myself with an hour to spend sounds SO exciting. But this will just be a short season and I want to catch myself before I end up thinking this is the REAL life that I push through the other harder seasons of my life to get to. Its a challenge to live fully where you are. This is a messy season in my life. I clean up one mess and they make another one. But I am scared to blink, and they will be all grown up and my house will be all clean and quiet again. I want to cherish these toddler years, and whatever joys and trials the next seasons of life brings. This is real life. the day to day, nitty gritty, dinner around the table, playing in the grass, blue play dough in my hair and milk spilled on the floor... that's life. Teaching them about Jesus and getting to share His love with others. that's REAL life. enduring through suffering so that we can share the hope of God with others who also go through suffering. that's REAL life.

As I dream and plan the months we will be near to our families in America, I already know the things that I am going to miss about India the most. My friends, first of all. The malls with kids playgrounds that are so near our house. (you know small town America is not known for its big malls) Getting groceries delivered for free. seriously anything off of with its quick free delivery.(amazing!) Crazy congested markets where you can find anything cheap. calling up a "fix anything guy" for $2. Public transportation, like the Auto. The boys are going to miss these rides SO much. I really want to enjoy the season now of finishing this term strong, and joyfully expecting God to do great things now and in the months at home. How do I live fully where I am in the life season that God has given me TODAY? One moment at a time. spend more time on my knees and less complaining. Being with people that listen and encourage. Laugh and cry through the good and bad days. Community. And get used to a little grim on the floors.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Sarah! Even in the US I fell into the trap of what I was "going to do nice we are to the next phase." Kids,growing up fast has made me realize that their life is passing while I am waiting for.....I don't know what! Anyway, I don't have it figured out, but I understand your sentiment!