Wednesday, September 5, 2012

That Disconnect with our Dearest

"The last few weeks I was blessed to have my little brother visit and experience my life here in Mexico.  Often for single missionaries the people that we love most never know what our lives are truly like.  We try to explain, send pictures and tell the stories, but it is not the same, and in reality attention spans of those listening are relatively short since they have no way to connect with the realities described. 

This is not a lack of concern or caring, but simply a reflection of an absence of shared experiences that would allow one to connect with another’s life.  It was truly a joy to share my life with my brother for those three weeks, introduce him to the people I care for, places where I live and work, and travel with him through the mountains, coasts and valleys of Oaxaca.  I should have been thankful, joyful, but when I left him at the airport for his trip home, I couldn’t stop the tears."

I would say to Chariti, the writer of this blog post excerpt, that being single has its definite challenges and unique sorrows, but the longing for loved ones to “get” our life is common to us all, newbies and old-timers, single and married alike.

This summer I once again experienced that disconnect with some of my dearest family members and friends.  How can they relate to my life when they have never seen where and how I live?  Why do I even bother rambling on about what they cannot possibly envision?  I can enter back into their lives fairly easily, but very few loved ones have imaginations that enable them to enter into mine.

What I love about short-term teams is that blessing of having people from “home” in my real home, sharing a meal around my table, gradually “connecting with the realities” that I’ve been trying to describe in blogs and prayer letters for all these years.  I love it when they reach that “aha” moment of realization that my life is not to be pitied, but envied.

When people say, “I could never do what you do, “ I suspect that they have no idea what my real life is all about.  How could they say that, when I lead such a fulfilling and happy life?  When they ask, “When are you going to retire, move ‘back home’ and settle into living in the U.S.?” I know that they are missing some vital piece of information I haven’t been able to communicate adequately.

Once again, I am thankful for my IRL (real life) friends who share my life on the field.  I’m also thankful for each of you who are living parallel lives in your dots on the map.  It brings me great cheer to be reminded continually that I am not alone.

IRL:  Chariti, you are not alone, either, and I’m sure I am not alone in saying you will be missed when you move on from this particular field of service.


  1. Our ministry is in mission aviation and last year, when a close friend came to visit, I asked her to write our prayer letter. She began, "We were walking & Jenni casually mentioned that the sound we heard was Michael taking off. She kept on but I was stuck. It was overwhelming to actually see Michael flying. I have prayed imagining it for almost twenty years. Of all of my experiences in PNG over the last month, I think that moment is the most profound."
    Her visit visit & letter have re-energised not only our friendship and her prayers, but also the support we receive from many others, enabling them also to reach that "aha" moment.

    1. That's fantastic! Now who can I persuade to come experience my life and write MY next update? Hmmmm. What a great idea!

  2. You've hit the nail on the head here:

    "I can enter back into their lives fairly easily, but very few loved ones have imaginations that enable them to enter into mine."

    That describes perfectly my experience. My family does make an effort, but I know my life is so different they have trouble envisioning it. My only solution is to accept this and try to fit into their lives as best as I can when I'm home, sharing what I can about our day to day life in the Middle East.

    1. Yes, acceptance is the key. Each time. Repeatedly. I find it's not an easy thing to do once and forever.

  3. Sharing in the lives of ministry friends around the world through blogs and groups has made a super big difference in my life on the field. So glad for my own parents who made the choice years ago to be a part of our missionary lives through frequent trips!

  4. Me, too! I'm happy for you and thankful for my own folks and my dmil who came to visit both Guatemala and Mexico to see where and how we live.

  5. The other morning when I opened the email that had this blog post in it, my dh read it before I did. He thought it was so good because it really put into words the feelings we've had many times. I think it's so hard for people to understand that this is "home" to us and while I love going to the States to visit friends and family being away from "home" for months at a time is anything but easy. We have been blessed with quite a few visitors since our move to Asia and I so grateful for those visits because it really does help people to understand us more.


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