While I was in Laos interesting, but remarkable things happened somedays , on one occasion inside the US Embassy Vientiane.  I had gone to the US Embassy to get official pages  added to my passport. While I was sitting there waiting for them to process my passport, an American couple came in (for US services too), sat down, and started asking me questions, curious of my story. The conversation moved quickly and then before I knew he, mainly, was asking me personal questions about myself. What had happened to me? What was wrong with my hand? I explained that I had a weakness on the right side of my body from a stroke at birth, but than they processed to ask if they could pray for my hand.  Now for anyone that knows me well enough, you would know my response to this question/ thoughts on this action.  The question ,” Can I pray for your hand?” does not bother me so much, nor does praying  with strangers, etc. What bothered me was how he prayed about my hand for it to be fixed and healed.  Now I know he meant well and there are all types of people in the world, but it caught me off guard. I don’t want people to pray for my hand to be healed. I don’t need it ‘fixed’, it defines/ shapes who I am. Not everyone realizes this though.

Afterward, I went back home to eat breakfast and my Lao mother asked how my time at the embassy was, I than processed to tell her what had happened. Keep in mind my Lao mother (explained in a different post) didn’t know much about what had previously happened to me either, re my hand. She just smiled, listened, and then said, “Only God really knows you.” This very  direct, but clear reminder was all I needed to be at peace with the situation.

This small response has stuck with me in many cases, especially now in the United States.  Only God knows the whole story of what has happened, what my eyes have seen, who  all I have met, and what  my core values are/ what I think on various topics. Not everything can be told to anyone ,as would be helpful.

Coming back to the United States has been interesting. I want to share my experiences, passions, and stories with different people. It is healing of sorts. What I have found though is many people care, but I have met so many new people and friends, so much has happened, and my experiences, in some cases, have been way beyond their understanding of what they have ever done or can imagine. They can’t fathom what I have to share. Their lives are different.  Others care, but only want a short answer. They are looking for the answer, “It was good.”

Many Americans have busy lives. Going from one thing to the next, they barely slow down to spend time with those around them. Really spend time. Many Americans turn toward television or computer games/shows in their  ‘free time’. Activities where they don’t have to interact with those around them. They are at times uncomfortable with others and use technology to ease their discomfort.  I have found this to be mainly why it is so awkward to meet and be with some Americans. Others Americans have jobs where they sit in a tiny cubicle all day or scurry from one meeting to the next ( not that meetings are bad- there just comes a point when it’s too much and takes away from other important things.) Those are sometimes important jobs with people in the “background” doing important work, but I can’t have one of those jobs ever! I need a job, not behind a desk, not at daily meetings, but with people. Really with people.  Americans are private individual creatures. Many Americans are worried about all the wrong little “problems “, I don’t get it anymore !Lao people are  shy, but open about everything, sharing their lives with others always. The difference has become more obvious since coming back to the United States.

Now I am at a turning point. Do I stay in the United States, do I start a new adventure of sorts in Thailand, go to school, or do something else. ? I have learned so much from being in Laos , I have made so many connections with people and places, life is quite different now. I am so much closer to finding my real passion, working with children, and social work, to name some. My very good friend from college says , ” It is your life, right? Your adventure. Take as much time as you need to figure out where you want to go with it.” She’s very right.
What am I going to do? Why am I worried, God knows and that is all that matters.

Lately I have been told, ” Now is the time to listen to God’s calling in your life. ” This is NOT helpful. Firstly, because it Is just frustrating and stressful when people say that, but mostly because that is not how I see the relationship between God and humans happening. I see life as a house being build and with every next set, job, or experience you add more to the “house”. I don’t see people usually having one calling in life, but every bit of their life puzzle is a calling from God. As the saying goes , ” It is about the journey , not the destination.” Very very true statement, also applying to God’s calling in human life.

So, as I continue to process my life in Laos, the adventures to come, and the decisions to be made, I must remember that only God really knows, (always); this statement brings incredible peace.

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