25 February 2017

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Saw this picture on my Facebook news feed this morning.

This talks about traveling, and having your heart in many places.  Can you imagine living in another country, in another culture for over a decade, and then repatriating?

I know that many friends and relatives are excited that we’re “headed home” in just a couple of weeks from now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited too!  But I’m also torn.  Ohn considers me her big sister, and she’s like a younger sister to me.  The thought of maybe not ever seeing her again this side of Heaven is sometimes overwhelming.

I hope and pray that friends and family will bear with me when homesickness hits – it’s usually around its worst at 7 weeks in for me.  It’s not that I don’t love you any less, but it’s that I don’t love the friends – and some I consider family – in Tha Chat Chai any less either, and I will be missing them dearly.

So, I guess I’m asking for grace in this transition.  Starting over again.  We don’t have ministry positions or jobs yet.  We don’t have our own apartment yet.  That can be a bit unsettling.

Please extend grace when I’m overwhelmed at the immense variety of one item in the grocery store.  I usually don’t have that luxury here.

Please extend grace as I sit in a Thai restaurant (which will probably happen sooner, rather than later), and find that the price on a little plate of Vegetable Fried Rice is nearly ten times what I pay for it here.  It literally takes my breath away.  And don’t be shocked if I don’t like the way Thai food has been westernized in the States.  Sometimes it’s just horrific to me!

Please extend grace as I “wai” you when I see you.  That’s what I’ve been doing for over a decade now!  No, I’m not bowing down and worshiping you.  If you ask, I’ll show you what that looks like, but I don’t do that!

Please extend grace when I wear my flip-flops to church.  I don’t generally wear “real shoes” here.  And now they feel very confining.  I may have just forgotten to put “real shoes” on.

Please extend grace when I can’t access a common word in English.  It’s probably one I don’t have occasion to use here in Tha Chat Chai in either English or Thai.  It’ll come back to me over time . . .

Please extend grace as I ask you to catch me up on something so I can follow your conversation.  If you didn’t send me an email or post it on Facebook, I don’t know about it.  I probably don’t know everything you’ve posted on Facebook anyway . . .

Please extend grace as I ask about a loved one or friend who has passed on.  Chances are I just never heard about it.  It’s difficult staying fully connected while being half a world away.

Please extend grace if I feel I need a day (or two or three) to quietly be by myself, processing all of these things.  The United States is not the same as it was a decade ago when we left for Thailand.

And I pledge to do my best to extend grace too.  I’ll (usually) wait until a quiet moment, or use private messaging or email, if I think you need to know a bit more about something to do with Thailand or Asia or Buddhism or Animism or how Islam is practiced here or the like. One of my main giftings is teaching.  I always purpose to speak with respect and with facts.  I remember how steep my learning curve was when we arrived here.  We still don’t know everything there is to know about it all!  And I can only speak for the community I’ve lived in these past 9 years.

These are my thoughts for today.  I’ll probably be posting little stuff like this a lot in the near future.  It helps me to process all of these events.  I think, too, it will help others as they walk this journey with me and others who are repatriating.  I must confess, too, that it may be a way of procrastinating with the packing and other things that must be done before we head out for the States.  If I’m not fully prepared, I can’t leave, right?  And if I can’t leave, I don’t have to say good-bye, right?

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