Saturday, April 07, 2012

Typing Therapy (Warning!!! Lengthy rambling ahead. Read at your own risk!)

I have so many ideas and thoughts in my heart I feel like I could burst. I want to write.

Or at least I think I do. But that means I have to choose a topic. (Just one?) And I have to stop doing something else and take the time to write. Say no to facebook and the dishes and the sweeping and the laundry and the kids and whatever else for a little while and click away on keys and let some of the emotion that's been clogging up my soul pour out through my fingers.

Or at least I hope it will. But then, I don't always actually want what's  in there (in this heart and head of mine) to come out. Because sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it just makes me mad. But sometimes it helps me breathe - like exhaling the building up carbon dioxide. Like releasing the tears.

I feel like writing with big emotional, passionate images and words and phrases and pauses and exclamation points, oozing with feeling and deep thinking and joy. JOY. I how, I long for joy. And peace. HOW I LONG FOR PEACE. But life right now reminds me of the aftermath of having brought a newborn into the family. I'm emerging (I think) from the trauma of moving to another country and starting our kids in a new education system. When I think of the first months of life with my babies, unfortunately, I don't first think of how cute and sweet they were. I also remember how exhausted I was. And I think that's how I'm going to remember our first months in Peru. Tiring and emotional. But filled with lots of wonderful experiences, growth and learning.

Growth spurts. Hmmm...  I guess in many ways that's what these last months have been. Maybe these last two years. A giant growth spurt. An exhausting one.  Most moms know (you notice it for sure when they're little) that when your kids are growing they sleep a lot. Makes sense, because when you sleep is when your bones heal and grow.

In some ways, I feel like especially during this last month since we arrived and had to set up house in Northern Peru, the thinking/writing/expressing parts of me have been sleeping because after the rest of life there just wasn't any energy left for putting the experience into words. But I think it's time to start writing again because I know that writing helps me think and see clearly and remember what I know.

One thing I know is that culture shock is real and it is hard. In case you've never experienced it, it mostly feels like frustration. It stems largely from unexpected challenges and problems that you don't know how to solve (because the ways you used to solve "that" problem, don't work here). It comes from having to form so many new habits at the same time. It comes from dealing with a tremendous amount of stress without the normal stress-relievers and support networks that we were used to relying on back in our home culture.

We DID know that we were going to encounter some significant culture shock upon arriving here. But like when you jump into really cold water - KNOWING ahead of time that it's going to feel cold might prepare you for the sensation, but it doesn't keep that take-your-breath-away sensation from hitting you. But the knowing helps you know that you aren't going to die and that eventually you will breathe again. : )

Having anticipated culture shock hasn't made it much less shocking. But it has helped us know that we will keep adapting and adjusting and we will eventually probably feel quite at home here. We'll find our place in this world and start to breathe easier and easier. But as I think about it, I'm realizing at this moment that I'm having trouble really wanting to do that.  I'm having trouble wanting to attach to this new culture and make it home. In many ways, this house now feels like home. But outside? Not quite yet. And I don't know if I'm ready yet to claim it as home because that means that Fresno isn't home anymore and that still makes me sad. The grieving and letting go isn't over yet. And it probably won't be for a while.

Tomorrow is Easter. We will go to church for a 7am breakfast and early service and then come home. We're having some a couple of other missionary families over for lunch in the afternoon so that will be special. But I'm going to be thinking about and missing Sunrise Services at the baseball diamond with The Grove and leading worship and playing my guitar with my beloved friends on the worship team. (Lowell and I always led the Sunrise Services, so it was a special event for our whole family.) I'm missing Easter egg hunts with grandparents and cousins in back and front yards bursting with Spring flowers and green lawns and trees and fresh Fresno Spring air (achoo! and pollen.) I miss the eggs I blew out and dyed several years ago that year after year I would put out on my wooden window over the piano under a hanging bunch or two of dried flowers that said "JESUS IS ALIVE!"

But if there is EVER a weekend to remember that sometimes DEATH must come before LIFE, it is THIS ONE. Jesus' death will give way tomorrow to life. Abundant. Inexplicable. Hilarious. Joy filled. ETERNAL. Jesus left heaven and came to earth and died so that I can live. So that I can live here in Peru.

I think I want to start a new tradition...  To find a seed and plant it and see if it will grow. Because I feel a bit like a seed that's been buried and is starting to germinate and stretch to where I feel inside of me is up - that up above there somewhere is this thing called LIGHT. And I want it. And Jesus died so I can have it. Here. Life after death. Joy after grief. Sowing in tears to reap songs of joy.  All because of Jesus. All for Jesus.

Wherever you are, may you experience the joy of life after death in Christ Jesus this weekend.

By His Grace,

P.S. I was right. I did want to write. ; )


  1. Anonymous10:42 PM

    I wish I could give you a hug, as I think/know it would do both of us good. Tomorrow is the reason you are there, so enjoy Easter to the fullest. Love, Dad

  2. Or your could postpone some of the culture shock by moving all the time (like we're doing). After visiting our potential new homeland this past week, I can forsee some of the areas where culture shock will hit as we move to a more remote part of the country with not as many amenities as Bangkok. But like you say--even though you know its coming, you still have to go through it. The key word, though, is "through".

    I remember driving through some monstrous tunnels in the Alps. I think one was like 13 km long. What is strange is that on the other side you are in a totally different valley/mountain/watershed system. And to get to the prettiest areas you had to go through the tunnel.

    Here's to a wonderful new landscape in your future!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart with me.