It’s been painful recently.
I’m hesitant to write too openly in a blog. I fear that people will worry about me or us–our health, our strength, and if we can or should stay. Or perhaps I’ll say something that I would have never said in person because socially it shouldn’t have been said.
God has been confirming many things about our lives here, giving us a deep love for our neighbors; showing us the opportunities and hope in our new roles at Partners. And simply put, in my soul I believe this is right for this stage of our lives, and I’m at peace knowing simply the few steps in front of us.
But in the midst of this confidence, there have been many aches recently.
Sometimes I worry I am becoming a little unstable as a person. I’m easier to tears, quicker to insecurity, and much more wavering. I can go from laughter to overwhelmed within minutes; from watching a 22-minutes-of-laughter sitcom to tears because I’m obscurely reminded of something I saw earlier in the week.
I thought it’d be something I might adapt to as we stayed longer; perhaps I’d level out? Instead, I think it has become much deeper and more personal, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
There’s a gap present in every Skype call; and with every encounter with a neighbor. We’re not the same as we were; there are irreconcilable pieces between our lives here and in America. And even still, we’ll never understand the lives of our neighbors. We can live life with them and learn much, but I’ll never know their level of poverty; I’ll never understand what it is to be stateless; I’ll never understand the fear that consumes them. I’ll never grasp their culture enough to think as they think. I can learn, yes; but it will never be a part of me in the way it is for them.
I’ll always have the knowledge of something else, I suppose.
I read Hunger Games this past week. I read all three books within the week, so I obviously enjoyed them a little. The first was much more appreciated than the last; the seemed to get more depressing to me. Either way–I can resonate with some of what Katniss writes of the gaps between the Capitol–developed, first-world if you will–and District 12–poverty stricken and oppressed, survival-focused. She nods along to a world that seem so far from her:
“While Venia reinvents my eyebrows and Octavia gives me fake nails and Flavius massages goo into my hair, I hear all about the Capitol. What a hit the Games were, how dull things have been since…it won’t be too long until before the Capitol begins gearing up for the Quarter Quell.
‘Isn’t it thrilling?’
‘Don’t you feel so lucky?’
…Their words overlap in a blur of excitement. ‘Oh, yes,’ I say neutrally. It’s the best I can do.”
I do that sometimes, nodding along with things that seem so far away.
Sometimes I feel crazy between the two worlds, understood by neither.
Its created loneliness here, too.
I can’t say my introversion has helped. In times of being overwhelmed, I retreat. Stephen has been my safety, and we have spent large quantities of time together. A good investment, yes; but we still need community. We somehow must maintain the communities we have in America while building community here, where I’m often intimidated and fearful.
Recently, I’ve been avoiding the blog, only occasionally painting pictures of fun packages, sweet neighbor children, and the joy of painting our house. All good things, yes; and all present in our lives. I have loved the packages, and they’ve brought some welcomed smiles and familiarity. I love the kiddos, and they inevitably give me the tightest hugs on horrible days. I think God sends them my way, telling them to smile big and squeeze tight. I love our newly painted walls and feel much more cozy in our home.
But its unfair to share or document the highs and leave out the tears. The reality is that I’ve spent more time crying through prayers recently than I would have liked. If I could choose, I would have learned Karen ages ago, and Burmese would be on the tip of my tongue. I’d feel more connected here to other foreigners in town, or at least have the courage to work toward it.
Conclusion-less ending: I’m fine, but it’s not all delicious chocolate treats and exciting changes in Burma. I’m more confident than ever that I’ll never be the same, and I’m simply praying that God uses every frustration, every tear, and every mustered effort.