A Personal Experience from Global Movings & Life Transitions

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words….Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other….

In Genesis 11:1-9, the world began to have different languages. To see how that translates into a time in today’s world, see Global Lenses.

A 175˚(~180˚) Flip

Entering adulthood is a thrilling experience, much more is living through this new phase. At once, I thought I had it figured out what I plan for the rest of my life, but at another instance, events unfold in ways I do not expect.

I spent the past month ‘coming back’ to a place I grew up. I was adjusting through a period of reverse culture shock, as I moved across ~9350 miles between the two locations. A month later, to my excitement, I got the opportunity to return to where I originally flew back from. This is a place where I had some of my formative years taken place, but not where I grew up. Formative years and growth seem to have extended or become more complicated whenever I move across distances.

Certainly, expectations do not always meet experiences. When that happens, it takes time to get pass the stress of readjustment, physically and mentally. Unexpectedly, I am reliving another reverse culture shock. This time, with the intensity of uncertain career path and sudden relocation. My body is so confused with the sleep-wake cycle and prolonged fatigue from a 40-hour traveling. My mind is looking for a reference point to bridge the expectation-reality gap.

Families and friends move on at different places, and the relationship is not the same as having them around. The smells and sounds in the air, and even the warmth or coolness around have changed. The food I was so used to a month or two ago is not the same now, so are my daily routines of doing activities and taking a rest. The social rules and cultural way of thinking were once familiar but not so meanwhile. It is not a completely individual process but a unique experience internally. There are memories and thoughts that I cannot share freely as they are understood. At work, there is so-called professionalism as a standard code of conduct, but it does not translate well into personal life.

Above all, God has never been distant, and is even actively involved in every single event of my life.

Orchestrated Coincidences, Who’s the Director?

Very easily, I could have focused the spotlight on my conflicts and personal experiences, and lose sight of God Himself in my life. Perhaps, I have transitioned into adulthood after college. Thereon, I would not have learned the ropes to becoming a grown-up apart from the events and people along the way. Not a single incident if displaced from its time and place would have the best influence in my life.

It would not have been possible to have a place to stay right after graduation due to the leasing conditions and the absence of ‘home’ in a distant country. What more, the moving was so smooth that I did not have to worry about transporting my house items. My roommate was a perfect match without any prior contact. The long period of job searching was very bumpy but it helped me to learn about myself better, and it built in me a finer character. The brief trip across the oceans helped me to connect the dots of families and friends.

Despite not knowing how things work together to this present time, and what are the unknowns in the future, God had never been absent or indifferent. There is always this peace whenever we’re walking together. On my end, I could be tired or slacking, but He is ever faithful to walking me through whatever unknowns ahead.

I could only say, when I’m left with only disarrayed thoughts in my worn out mind and body, I can feel His presence so real and refreshing inside of me. What reminds me next, is the recall that He is again directing me the way. I know, I am regaining my balance and returning to my normal self. I believe the same worth of experiences can be experienced by whoever who would give it a try. And it is always a beautiful chapter that concludes, one after another.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” — Romans 8:28

Featured Video: True Beauty 2: Deny Yourself

Related Article:
Beyond Cultural Identity: Reflections on Multiculturalism (1)


Reference:
1. Adler, P. (2002). Beyond cultural identity: Reflections on multiculturalism. Retrieved from http://www.mediate.com/articles/adler3.cfm

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White as Dove, Prudent as Serpent

Retaining a heart of gratitude is easy, when things are in abundance.

Charting a new course feels light, when burdens are less.
Maintaining integrity is manageable, when surrounded with people likewise.

However, such privileges are not universal, especially when ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ becomes mainstream. Hence, some go tactical by avoiding toxic people just to stay ahead. Yet, there are always times that demand contact with disruptive behaviors. So, the question now becomes, “How would you carry yourself in such situations?”

Situation A: On the Road

In some places, rule observance is honored (generally) to prevent confusing expectations and unnecessary risks. In other places, rules serve as an ‘authoritative’ guide for individual discretion, except when risks turn into harms. When exceptions happen, it is the fault of the ones causing them, because they are not street-smart enough.

At Place A, passing on the slow lane is illegal; At Place B, passing on both lanes is more than about legality but a norm. Not surprisingly, such behaviors go beyond the roads, but everyday life. Get ahead because it is a need, because such is a norm, and because I was not caught. One could make a joke that “Arriving at your destination ahead of the car in front of you is the most important rule. All other rules are subservient to this sacrosanct rule.”

Speed limit? Play it safe or pay safe. One-way lane? When there is no cars. Traffic light in yellow? Better speed up. (……etc.)

Melody in a City Hustle

Among the noise and rush of a crowded place, there is a gentle whisper. The whispering melody is tender, but enigmatically ethereal (mystically perfect & delicate for this world). It did not stop the busyness of the streets, but it instantly awakes the soul that has been dreaded by one matter after another, from a Whack-A-Mole game where one just keeps on hitting the mole that emerges at one hole after the other at an unceasingly faster rate.

At a place where problems seem to abound, role models are hardly within reach. What is less-than-normal becomes the normal, perceived and accepted as a ‘humane’ compromise. At one spot, the blame game gets fury; At another spot, helplessness is a true state.

However, what is right is never lost. What is honorable is not buried. A little step back in sync with the melody recalls what is proper and virtuous. It brings back a sense of integrity, like the heart and mind were never separate as two.

Salt & Light, Ambassadors of Christ

It was, maybe, easier to keep a heart of gratitude when life was at its peak. Generosity, was out of the excess. Defining one’s course was perhaps, less burdensome with lesser weights on the shoulders. If recognitions and affirmation come from the people around, the path would be much broader than it needs to be.

Yet, one thing is for sure. Without a clear mind, innocence and wisdom are sound qualities but practiced poorly. We, can never truly stand alone, unless we abide by His word. For He says,

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5

And so does the church which you and I constitute:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” — 1 Peter 2:9

When life gets the better of you again, steer calmly and get in check with His word. Godspeed!

Faith in Trying Times

Life is tough, days are bad, but faith is needed. (?)

See, pal… Don’t tell me about faith. It is not solving the problems.
Just, don’t throw in the faith word. It isn’t helping at all.

Tough Times

For the past 6 months, I have been working on what I loved so much, a project that I could pour my talents, time, and interests so tirelessly. Now, due to the lack of funding, the project is canceled, and I’m out of work all of a sudden.

… // …

Things were not well for the past 2 years, but I was able to make the ends meet, just merely… AND this morning, out of nowhere, I was told that I have a little growing tumor in my brain. Great. 2 years of struggles day by day, and now my brain is abnormal.

… // …

See, it isn’t that I’m not hopeful or optimistic. It is just not happening. Every single day, every single moment, the constant grip of fear is just paralyzing. It is not a fright that will go away once it scares you, but it is a fainting fear that lingers. I know, faith moves mountains, and miracles occur. A powerful faith will see through the end… However, I’m tired of this battle… I don’t care anymore.

What’s Faith

Faith is not an it, but a response towards God as His word speaks so. We are led by blind faith when it is out of sync with His word.

An Entrusted Deposit

Perhaps, Satan wants to distract you with little problems bubbling here and there, in different forms and sizes. There is only one goal at hand, to put you in doubt, in despair, and be ineffective in life. For now, none of us knows how the circumstances come together, whether Satan seeds the event, the person contributes to it, or God allows the happening. But it is for sure that God tempts no one with sickness or a job loss to drive a person into doubts and despair. Simultaneously, it is also certain that Satan’s goal remains despite the circumstances, that is to lead man away from God.

Lifestyle

Life is tough, while days were bad. It doesn’t matter. You have the choice to not succumb to the circumstances. Along the way, it is tempting to look at the premade choices that are discouraging, but the reality is that those alternatives are not helpful. Still, you have the liberty to see the light in every trial. You have the Word of God to discern the way that leads to life. It is more than a matter of choice, but a lifestyle. A lifestyle that acknowledges one’s inadequacies, and thus aligns oneself with the spoken reality that God had established since the beginning of the world. When heaven meets the world, you are bridging the gap and living that reality.

“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” — 1 Peter 5:9