A good friend of mine is going through an extended process of learning, adapting to, and perhaps even enjoying a brand new culture. The process is not easy. The journey is taking her to parts of the world few ever see, especially as a tourist. Everything is different from what the environment of her childhood, emerging adulthood, or recent experiences. From the weather through food and relationships, there is much to understand, grabble with, and, in time, come to some kind of terms. This is not something one can ignore. This not a question that will disappear, even with time. One must engage, participate, and when in time incorporate in a way that works for everyone involved.
As one interested in the health of everyone involved, my perspective includes the following observations. First, the process is fascinating. There are so many new “things’ waiting for each to discover about the other. Second, this is not something for weak spirits. The challenges are incredible. Things new, strange, and difficult show up when one least expects. Third, the fundamental question rests in what one wants to do, not in what one avoids. Saying no always leaves a void. Decide what one desires, aspires to, and values and go for it! Each moment has something of benefit in it for those involved.
With this reflection, I have come to realize that I despise naysayers, especially when it comes to enjoying life. We have an extraordinary opportunity in the lives and world in which we find ourselves. We can take something from every moment regardless of the degree of difficulty. We can discover beauty in the oddest, strangest, and most unlikely places where we find ourselves. We can bring compassion, mercy, and hope to every situation.
“God, Creator of the heavens—he is, remember, God. Maker of earth—he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch. He didn't go to all that trouble to just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in.” (Isaiah 45.18)
God offers each the gift of living, now.
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