Thursday, February 19, 2009

one thing i really don't like

recently, i was strongly reminded of something i really dislike. generally, i'm pretty easy going and don't get upset easily. (at least i think this is true .. ) but last week i was in a situation, and saw again just how much i dislike this particular habit some people have. it may not seem like a big deal, but it feels like a symptom of something bigger.


growing up, my family ate dinner together around the table. we actually sat and ate together and had good conversations. there were things that came up sometimes, and not everybody was always there .. but generally this was true. and when one person talked, everyone else listened. honestly. as a little kid i was quite talkative, and sometimes my parents told me it was somebody else's turn to talk and i needed to eat my food. but the fact that i was able to talk and be heard by everybody? i mean .. i'm 7 years younger than anybody else in my family .. and they all listened to me. i was respected and valued and heard. and in turn, i learned how important it is to respect and value and listen.

but it seems like there are lots of people who haven't learned that lesson. the world isn't always a nice place for quiet people. their voices aren't always sought out. those who are loud and noisy are often those who get what they want. but quiet people have important things to say too. sometimes .. because they have more time to think about what they say .. their words and thoughts are incredibly beautiful. personally, if i have to interrupt to be heard, i often choose to just listen instead of trying to push my way into conversation. not always .. but generally.

so .. when there is lots of interrupting going on, what do i read into it? what do i see? i see disrespect. i see people who aren't assured enough of their own value to let someone else talk. people who feel like they need to speak up to gain approval or to be seen or to prove something. maybe that isn't always true. and interrupting is so common, it is a behavior that can easily be picked up and become a habit. sometimes if you want to be heard, it's just about the only way to accomplish that. but .. it is frustrating. and saddening. if one person is given an opportunity to talk and others keep jumping in, it seems like they don't value that one person. not sure how one could go about changing this in a community .. gently shifting expectations and behaviors .. and even if it should be done .. but it certainly makes me wonder.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

so many pieces of paper ..

it's that time of year again ..
visa excitement!
that's right .. waiting .. and rushing. and waiting .. and rushing .. and waiting .. and waiting ..
you know. the usual.

yesterday i paid the taxes.
three of them.
two of which were less than $1.
but i got to visit three different buildings.
and stand in three different lines.
and hand my passport to three different people.
and walk across a plaza from the first to the second building.
and walk a mile to the third building.
but .. getting there and accomplishing this
and getting home took about two hours.
which is better than i expected.

a few more things checked off the visa-list ..
just one more big one to go ..
the first time i did this process,
a teammate made the comment
that you have to really want to stay in this country.
they don't make it easy.
but it's true ..
i'm confident this is where i'm supposed to be
for now
so it's worth all the hassle and energy and frustration.

at least this time i speak the language well enough
to know what is going on.
and why the various offices i have to visit
don't always have the happiest workers ..
i can even to explain myself, if i have to.
and ask questions that get the answers i need!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

taking a Sabbath

apologies for my long absence. too much has happened .. and i haven't been sure what to write about or how to summarize .. so i'm just starting with this week. i'll try to be more consistent about writing, with God's help :)

each week i make a point to take a Sabbath. and it really does need to be taken. there are so many things to be done, and people to spend time with, and pushes toward accomplishing -- if i don't set aside a day, it won't happen. so what is Sabbath? a day to rest. to be refreshed. to spend time in God's presence. to not work. to be creative. those are a few of the 'goals' i have each Sabbath.

this past week, when i woke up on Sabbath morning, i really wanted to finish my book. but i curbed my desire for a while and spent some time with God in His Word, savoring His truth and yummy coffee at the same time :D and then i pulled out this book. it's a book i've read before at least twice, and every time i read it i understand new truths. or old truths more deeply. this particular book has a Christ figure .. and even though the book is not explicitly Christian when i read it, my soul understands it spiritually. all that to say .. i spent a good two or three hours reading, and wasn't sure if i should feel guilty. that i wasn't journaling and reading my Bible and listening to God in silence. but then God reminded me that He is not limited to the Word. He graciously allowed me to commune with Him and take delight in His character through this amazing story. and that's a pretty good way to spend a Sabbath!