Then comes conversations about buying something or something traditional in this area or time of year...and I have never heard of it or it is a totally foreign concept. And then to drive the point home that it is not me...everyone who then joins the conversation, agrees, has the gidgetdrives the point further home. Mentions of common Christmas plants that I have never heard of...but everyone else seems to have, driving customs that I swear weren't a thing when I lived here about 20 years ago, conversations about politics, policies, rights, they make ratcheting screwdrivers now?...the list goes on. I think I was just kind of denying them for a while. And denying how long it has been, I mean, 18 years "gone" hasn't seemed that long, but clearly it has been.
All this can be a little uncomfortable. And it comes even more going into our home culture as well. (think about that sentence that just came out of me for a bit.) But...overall, it is pretty encouraging in a strange way. Wherever we were born, and whatever culture we are given growing up or encounter living wherever we are or where God takes us, it should not be our first and foremost identity. There is something freeing of being caught between cultures to help you identify what really matters, what you really believe, and what is just not important, or what it just not as important as others think it is or should be.
Kiss me, or be the same...whichever way is fine by me.
Those of the kids that accompanied Maria to Sampedrana also got to stop for a visit in Comayagua. This was quite the unusual adventure for most of them!
It is hard to admit sometimes when we need help. Sometimes, it is hard to admit that to ourselves. One thing traveling around the US has taught me (yet again) is that with spiritual highs, come spiritual lows. Getting to share time with people here has been great, sometimes just hanging out and chatting, sometimes with great discussions that dive deeper in the mission, faith, and the world in which we live.
But in what I believe is an ongoing need for transparency and shining a light on a darkness that can otherwise be crippling, let's talk about anxiety and depression shall we?
Have you ever shown up to work, only to look around you in confusion and a shortness of breath? Have you ever felt like you are driving into a woods, seeing the trees all crowded together and you are racing into them so fast you can't focus?
There is a forest to wade into every day of our lives, of errands, spiritual errands, physical work...you name it, and all with their importance and calling out for our attention, whether we feel capable or able to perform them or not. When that forest seems coming at us at great speed, all the more reason we should stop, pray, and try to just deal with walking around the first tree in front of us.
My frustration, my paralyzing fear sometimes just to tackle the day, can come from many things, but ultimately...am I seeing myself and my relationship to God correctly? Or am I just seeing a brown mass of thorns and branches, and trying to make that tree blossom from my empty jug without help from the Holy Spirit? Not to trivialize this subject, and not that it is all just "fixed" from our point of view, but there are many a passage in the Bible that can help in those times, to regain proper focus and persevere, one that hit me today especially is one that is instructive and then tells you the why...I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him...because He cares for you."
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