I ran into an article on Facebook today posted by the Center for Intercultural Training. It instantly hit me just from the title as something I couldn't place my finger on, but that Valerie and I had bandied about without any satisfying success.
The title is "How pandemic isolation is like missionary life" and lists some similarities.
Seeing the title, I immediately sent it to Valerie. Not everything in the article would I say applies to all missionaries (of course) but the title alone was enough for me to have an aha moment.
I say that because seeing the reactions to being in a quarantine, lock down or shelter in place, from our friends in the USA, I have struggled to relate or empathize sometimes.
Our quarantine level has been fairly strict, and yet we are doing just fine as a family getting along, relating, staying busy, and honestly...not feeling anxiety or unease, any more than normal.
That last bit may explain some of my reaction. This new normal for families in the US in some respects reflects more of a decades long normal for us. Not leaving much in general, spending most of our time together, no access to many close leisure activities, friends only seen remotely or infrequently, unsure nature of access to foodstuffs, general insecurity/safety concerns, etc.
I share this mostly to let you know if you are reading this abroad and struggling with isolation and handling this new normal, that first you are not alone, and second...to say it can be done. Finding peace in this can be difficult, especially when it is all not by choice. We found a normal and way to work together...but over a period of years. (plus, we don't have toddlers anymore...another key factor in a quarantine)
We daily are prepared that loved ones can (and have) died, and we can't be there...that we can't share in experiences in person, etc. That is something we have accepted as a byproduct of what we do and where we are. You probably didn't choose that.
I don't have a platitude here to wrap up... there are no simple steps will make all this easy. Life isn't easy, we were not promised that either. Nor answers. Look for those wanting answers in the Bible, and how often they are satisfied. A lot of lamenting, for the lack of understanding and being able to see the plan...that, you do see. Ultimately...our only hope, only refuge, only strength, only security...is in God. Everything else can fail us, only God can save us...from or through every circumstance.
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