I don’t know if you have noticed but 2020 has had some pretty massive storms blowing through this year. The winds have been of hurricane force, destructive, picking up even the strongest of institutions, beliefs, way of life, etc. and moving these all around…rearranging things we never thought could be rearranged. It reminds me of the idea that “everything that can be shaken will be shaken.” All of this has brought an opportunity to examine the construction of our lives. What is our life built on? What kind of materials have I used in the construction of my beliefs, my vision, my security, my purpose, etc.? When our comfort gets shaken, our sense of security gets shaken. But the bigger question is…is the roof—that source of covering and protection we have placed over our lives—being ripped off by the force of the winds? Is the roof securely anchored or is it able to be blown away?
I would encourage us to think about our lives in this manner: “Am I hurricane-proof?”
As I reflect on my 2020 and my life, there are some take-a-ways that I have as 2020 is coming to a close…
What are your reflections about your life in 2020 as we come to the close of this memorable year in the history of mankind? Let's finish this year as some would say: “Make it count!”
It has been a while since I have journaled on our journey of life in SE Asia. As we settled into life as expatriates, routines began to emerge. Since 2016, one of our routines was summer visits to the States, then back to life in SE Asia. Well…this summer brought a new turn in events…a curve ball thrown into our routine. In light of this, I would say, it is a good time to share again about our journey. I would also say that at this point, this journey, since 2014, has been learning to live life “Not Normal” or living life in a “New Normal”.
At this point in our journey we have extended our “summer” visit into the beautiful fall season, and are now headed into the holidays as well. This has been an extended and unexpected time in the States for us. It has come with its challenges AND its blessings. I want to share a couple things that I am in the midst of learning and re-learning as we maneuver through this season.
First, it’s been learning to live in a paused state of life. Paused in the sense that there are projects and vision put on a low simmer, waiting for the time when we can we return to Asia. And it certainly is a paused state of life because I am living without roots. My home (apartment) is in Asia, so I float from living space to living space while in the States…basically living out of suitcases and a storage unit. As I think of “roots” I first think about being rooted in a solid substance like a plant in soil. Then my mind changes as I remember that there are some beautiful ivy plants in my apartment in SE Asia that are “rooted” in water. They are not in the solid substance of dirt. They are in a liquid, not solid. AND they survive and thrive in that condition. So it makes me stop and realize…maybe my current state of life is not rooted in a solid substance like dirt BUT my life is rooted in a life-giving substance that brings beauty and causes me to thrive.
The second lesson I would share is the art of “re-framing” or seeing the beauty that surrounds me. I could get caught up in all that is wrong. I could get depressed by the barriers that seem to loom in our path. I could focus on the frustrations of not being able to plan ahead (oh my!!!). And if I chose any of these options, I would miss the beauty of this journey. I am so aware that this is a special place in time. I will not pass this way again. In some respects, I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I do what is before me today. Today, I can see the beauty of the changing season. Today, I can take the time to see, touch, and be in the company of my sons and many friends that I have in the States. Today, I can enjoy a fire in the fireplace at Cracker Barrel (a favorite eating spot for us). Today, I can enjoy the scenery that is in this part of the journey and be thankful. So why not enjoy the journey? Why not make delicious lemonade out of the lemons? And in the midst of this, I am developing new skills, greater flexibility, and keeping those brain cells firing because of the frequent adjustments that I have to engage in.
So…this expat life and this journey in SE Asia…is it still worth it? I would say YES! Is it always comfortable? I would say NO! Is it necessary? Again I would say YES!
Please take some time to enjoy the pictures of our journey in the last month or 2 as we have enjoyed the journey and made lemonade.
This is one of my favorite family pictures. It is a picture of my mother with our youngest son before he graduated high school. We made a visit to her home in Texas like we usually did about twice a year. This was one of the last visits our son could make with us to see her.
So what is this Blog about?
I wanted to honor my mother and to share an ideal that my mother instilled in me as well as lived her life by. "When there is a will there is a way."
Those who knew my mother knew she was a strong woman. She was a determined woman. She was a resourceful woman. She was a loyal, faithful, and compassionate woman. And in some ways, you would say she was a fighter. When a problem came her way, she was not easily discouraged to find a solution. She was not afraid of hard work, and she was diligent to find ways either around, over, or through the situation. Her strong will caused her to not give up. And her strength was anchored in a power that was stronger than her power. She knew that and relied on the Greater Power that was on her side!
In our travels and in the present pandemic situation, we have been impressed with the differences we have seen in Americans and in other nationalities we are familiar with. In the American culture our sense of independence and that sense of being a "fighter" is still strong and evident. I am thankful for that. I am thankful for a people, a nation, that stands strong and stalwart in the face of howling winds of adversity and blazes a trail of right, truth, and justice.Some people feel powerless and without a voice. These can find themselves following the path of least resistance feeling there is no other way (versus blazing a trail of right or truth). Now, in no way is this advocating lawlessness or chaos. This is about finding your strength to stand and continue forward even in the midst of adversity, problems and oppositions.
Maybe the first path is blocked. So what is another path forward? Another saying my mother (and many other mother's have said) is "don't cry over spilt milk". To be able to find another "way", we have to be willing to not stand at the "old" way and keep mourning over what won't or can't be. We must recognize, there is another way...let's find it. Instead of seeing the WALL...start looking for the DOOR that is in the wall.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Be strong. Be Compassionate. Be Faithful to the vision or dream you carry.
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.