- Of people begging at the robots (traffic lights), asking for money, trying to sell me things or collect my trash.
- Of singing worship songs in languages I don’t understand or can’t pronounce.
- Of people having difficulties understanding me or of my having difficulties understanding them because of
- Of the time it takes to bake any of my favourite things because I have to convert the measurements (sometimes twice) or hunt around for ingredients that are hard to find.
- Of feeling pulled in many directions, from people, from projects, from commitments that demand my time. Sometimes I just want to do what I want to do. Sometimes I want space. God, could you please place me in timeout?
- Of the use of archaic words, such as “whilst,” in everyday English.
- Of trying to find the balance between a relational culture and the reality of time constraints and deadlines.
- Of seeing the worst of American culture imported to this beautiful country, giving South Africans a warped view of my country and heritage.
I’m not unhappy. I still love my life and work in Cape Town; but even in the best of times and in the best of circumstances, cross-cultural living can be challenging.
14 thoughts on “Weary”
Hi, Nicole! Yes–our earthly activities do wear us out and then everything appears to us as tiresome and non-productive. However, I find that sometimes I need to get to that place of bone-tiredness before I will admit that I need rest. It is then that I allow myself the freedom to just “be” and listen for God’s voice. I think we all deal with your wonderful insight of the “balance between our relational culture and the reality of time constraints and deadlines.” Doesn’t that beautifully describe all our worlds? We want to sit and enjoy God’s beauty, but we still have to remember to take out the trash and pay the bills!
Love you, dear lady! Am looking forward to some “relational” time soon…..
Thanks for your words of wisdom, Agatha! I’m looking forward to some good “relational” time with you too. Can’t wait to see you, my dear friend.
Well said, Nicole! It is part of the journey of serving cross-culturally. All who truly are committed to being used by God in a culture outside of their own must walk through this journey. Take time to rest, sisi and find ways to exhale when you can.
Would love to catch up with you when you have a chance!
Whew! Right in the thick of it, huh? It takes a LOT of energy to navigate all of the levels of internal adjustments you are making on a daily basis. I guess it must be easy to underestimate that. Where can you say “No” right now? Where can you tweak priorities? Whilst…really? Wow. 🙂
Hang tough! Having been raised South Africa – and English speaking at that, I know what you mean about American English. “whilst” is still correct, and I still spell things “weirdly” after being in the USA since 1975. I miss the heck out of South Africa, and can tell you endless things that life needs – like the sound of a “go away” bird, and the look and smell of the African bush. I had an aunt that lived in Fish Hoek when she retired and she used to sit on the benches along the walkway at the beach & just watch the bay – saw whales coming in with calves & other evidence of God’s handiwork. I loved going to visit her on vacation. My great nephew Iain Maughan Brown is her grandson, Connect with him – he’s with a huge church in CT. Cape Town itself is evidence of God’s artistry and man’s creativity, but you’re right about the begging. It is a harsh reality. Let someone minister to you, and schedule time to “defrag”
Thanks, Mary. I know you totally understand where I was coming from. I’m sure you had a long list about what made you tired in American culture. You are right about Cape Town being an masterpiece of God’s beauty. On Sunday, a friend and I went to the West Coast National Park to see the wildflowers. We spent hours just soaking up God’s beautiful creation–the flowers, wildlife, and birds. It was what my soul needed. Fish Hoek is down the road from me, and I have sat on those benches your aunt mentioned. I may have to do that this weekend. Thanks for the reminder about your nephew.
Hey Big Sis!
• Of people clearing their throat and chewing on their food loudly in the cubical beside me.
• Of people talking very loud and blaming their abrasive voice on other’s being hearing impaired.
• Of cats chilling on my car and leaving their horrible paw prints, fur and scratches on the hood and roof.
• Of people driving their cars the same SLOW speed in the fast and slow lanes on the road.
• Of being unable to cook and bake my favorite foods quickly because I’m not an accomplished cook.
• Of being told the same things over and over and over again that it may as well be engraved in my skin.
• Of being tired all the time because there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
• Of working with coworkers with undiagnosed mental illness and not gaining clinical hours for it.
I wrote all those things to make you smile Nicole. You know me very well and know what each one means. I will not offer up too much advice but I will say..God appreciates our openness and willingness to be honest and share with Him our weariness( I always think of Fiddler on the Roof). It has to be hard being in a new culture, but you are learning despite the challenges. So for the things that are beyond your control, learn to let them be. For those things you can control or influence outside and within yourself, place your focus there. And finally, the scripture says it best:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
I love you very much and can’t wait to see you soon.
Thanks, Little Sis! Your list did make me chuckle. I understand the code language going on–lol. Thank you for your wisdom too and for the scripture. I really need to practice the Matthew scripture. I think we need to sit aside at least one evening for a sister musical night, starting with Fiddler. I’m already singing the tunes.
Hi Nicole. Eloquence has been exhausted by you and all previous commentators who write so beautifully and thoughtfully. All I can do now is add a big hug for you. We love you.
Thanks so much for the hug, Cynthia. I’m sending a big hug to you too! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks when I come home for Christmas.
Who ever said mission and ministry was easy??
Every day I have to remind myself that I have been created in the image of God and as I follow Jesus, I am obliged to reach out to those around me and reflect the Love of Jesus for them…..even the homeless, drunken, filthy, sick creature who strives to keep body and soul together by getting something from me! OR even the beautiful people who have “no need” of God but strive to usurp His position over me. WHY? Because they all have God living in them!! And so we love them, we care for them, we pray for them, we lift them up, we offer them to God and we Thank God for the ability to do just that.
Keep going Nicole and know that you are one very special disciple and missionary for the Lord.
Love, prayers and blessings always,
Amen, Trevor! Thank you so much for your love and support. Sending you and Gwen lots of love.
Nicole your words bring back such heartbreaking and hearthealing memories.. http://blog.oliverville.org/2009/09/02/i-no-longer/
Hang in there! And just think, when you come back to the US, you will have to readjust all over. 🙂 You. Can. Do. This.