I am on an extended trip to new offices in Taipei, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. While I have been to the cities in the past, everything about this trip is new. Work colleagues, office settings, culture are just the beginning. Life others, we are facing uncertainty, chaos, and the unknown. Nothing is easy. Everything seems complex. As both are resting on new relationships, it is easy to anticipate the worst.
I keep reminding myself that I am not the first one to walk this path. Even as I try to control my fears, I remember the warning. “We’re worried about what will happen when they discover you’re in town. There’s bound to be trouble.” (Acts 21.21) It may not happen, but then again, it may. Be prepared.
Life seems to mirror the world that we live in. I have no idea what solution will work. The problems keep multiplying. The challenges of communication never stop. Each solution appears to solve part of the problem but not the whole.
Anticipating the worst is a natural reaction. After all, bad things do happen. Tragedy strikes without consideration. Being prepared does not come with an immunity guarantee. Trouble and fear are closely linked siblings in the same family.
As I talked with a new colleague today, he quickly embraced my questions. He said he would work on answering the historical aspects. As he finished his notes, he paused and looked me directly in the eyes.
“I am hoping that you have some of the answers to the future.”
Even as my mind sarcastically answered without a word, “So do I”, I realized that I have an incredible opportunity. I am being invited into this community. Someone anticipates that I can and will make a difference. While he is willing to help, he knows that the future will require more than what is available.
The day unfolds with a choice. Will I let my fears dominate my thinking? Will I embrace the invitation to make a difference? The story will begin on a cold and wet fall day in Taiwan.