Hopes and Fears for the next 15 weeks

Posted on March 14, 2012

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By Clarissa

Hopes

Every day John leaves and spends eight hours at the hanger doing airplane stuff. And I, well, I am figuring out what to write upon my own blank slate of hours. My primary hope for this short season is that I would learn to be still. Not so much in the physical sense, though that too, I suppose. I want my heart to learn to be content without “something to accomplish.” I want to wake up in the morning and feel a stillness and peace regardless of whether or not I have something “important” to do that day. So much of life, I create a rat race of tasks (that may or may not actually be important) so that I can feel like my days have purpose. Of course, I don’t like to acknowledge that this is what I am doing, and I would probably deny it, except for the undeniable evidence of how I respond when I truly have nothing to do: there sets in a restlessness and need to fill the space. I have, for years, linked my sense of self-worth with my busyness or accomplishments. Of course I know (in my head) that my self worth is not defined by what I do or don’t do, and yet I so easily feel discouraged if I can’t hold up my little list of To Do tasks with a lovely check mark next to each item. My biggest hope for this season is that God will create in me a quiet soul. I want to take long walks in the woods behind the house we are staying in, sit by the open window and listen to the birds sing, and instead of making lists of what I should be doing, I want to scribble out the multitude of ways that God has been gracious to me.

My other hope for this season is that God would be preparing my heart for what we are going to encounter in Kenya. I have a few books that I am reading that I am hoping will help in preparing me for this time. Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles is a 500 page book by Richard Dowden. I have only read the first 40 pages, but I can already say that I strongly recommend this book.

If you have an interest in sub-saharan Africa, you will love this book, and if you have no interest in the region, I can’t imagine it not kindling a curiosity to learn more about it. He is a journalist with a vast knowledge of the history and culture of Africa but writes from the heart of his own experiences across the continent. I am certain that future blog posts will contain excerpts from this book. The other book that I am very slowly working my way through is African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz. This book deals primarily with how Africans view money, resources and relationships, and particularly looks at how Westerners can understand and interact with a culture that is vastly different than our own. This book is already causing me to squirm, realizing how uncomfortable certain aspects of African culture will be for me. It is a good squirming, though, because it is leading to the death of my assumptions that my way (and my culture) is right.

Fears

My biggest fear for this season is loneliness. Our lives in Spokane were very much about being a part of a community. Here, I fear isolation. There are five other families who are going through Technical Orientation at the same time as us, and us wives will be getting together once a week to connect, so that at least should be a good way to build some friendships here. I also am planning to head over to the JAARS human resources office soon and see if there is a place where I could volunteer a few times a week, hopefully in a capacity that fits with my extroverted self. :-)

Would you pray with me during this season, that God would fulfill his purposes in me? I do look forward to seeing what this time will hold.

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