Posted by: janpierce | October 4, 2011

The Long Road Home

Roger will make his way home from Thailand this week. The entire trip will take about thirty-four hours and he’ll be exhausted physically and mentally when he gets home. I know from experience that once jet lag is finished and he re-enters “normal” American daily life, that’s when the real work begins. He’ll be processing all the information given in the workshops. He’ll be experiencing through all his senses the cultural clashes. And most demanding of all, he’ll be processing the ways he can apply all the things he’s heard and learned.

While Roger is going through the shift from one culture to another, Ruth and Jess, our friends from church are experiencing India for the first time. They’re sending back great pictures and I know many of the places they’re visiting. I also know that inside, they’re probably experiencing some culture shock, no matter how much fun they’re having. It’s just not possible to see the poverty and need without for at least a few moments wondering if you could trade places with one of the Indian people. Or could you live there full-time? Could you eat the food and live through the harsh weather conditions? Could you live in a tiny, dark room with a single burner stove and call that home?

For me there is always a fairly painful period of time after I come home in which I weigh all these facts once again and ask myself hard questions. Why was I born in America and why do I have access to plenty of good food? Why do I live in a nice home with comfortable furniture..and so much more. There aren’t easy answers and I always come back to the fact that I can choose to live a generous life of service in the place I find myself, wherever that might be. But I can never take my comfortable life for granted now that I know how so much of the rest of the world lives.

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