Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Living in a Foreign Land

Where ARE we?

Joe and I have looked at each other recently and asked that question. We look around and are baffled by what we see, hear, and smell. Everything seems so different from what we have known.

This move has been monumental. Huge.

We have moved across the country...multiple times...but this time has been the biggest move so far. I believe it has to do with our large family and the ages of the children. Before, there were only a couple of kids and they were still at home. Change was slight...really...just location, but our lives remained pretty much the same. The middle of California was not so unlike the midwest, and Wisconsin was definitely close to how Joe and I both grew up.

But here? DIFFERENT!

Slow..... accents I can't understand..... terms I have never heard (doubl' ought????).... slow..... loud, dark church...... schools that are SO different.....slow..... crazy driving where people come to a stand still when it rains.....did I mention slow?

I had decided to pick up my kids from school each day. Bad idea. Apparently, you have to line up to pick up your kids 2 hours in advance. Yes, you are reading that correctly. The first day of school, I thought, "Oh, I will leave about 10 minutes early to be sure I am there when they get out." HA! Little did I know that most moms in Greenville have NOTHING to do other than sit in their cars and wait for their kids to get out of school - I was about 100 cars back that first day - took my 35 minutes to get through the line and pick up my kiddos. Now, multiply that by 3 schools and you will see how I have been 3 hours of each afternoon here....sitting in a long line waiting to pull up to the designated pick-up area.

So, I said, "Enough of that craziness! The kids will ride the bus home."

The middle school put Harry on the wrong bus. He spent over 3 and a half hours riding a bus that wasn't his! We had to call the police to find him because the bus company didn't answer their phones.

I go to the high school open house, anxious to redeem a bad day. We go to English class - looking forward to hearing about Eleanor's loves (reading and writing). The teacher welcomed us in and then said, "I don't have anything to say, so do you have questions."

Uh....what?

So, I ask, "What are the books you will be reading?" She gives me a run down - 90% of which Eleanor read LAST year.

I ask, "What kind of writing projects will you be working on?" She answers, "Not much."

We sit in silence for a few minutes and then Joe says, "Well, I guess that's it, " and stormed out the room.

Go on to Science where we are told first thing about how they don't have enough money, they off to math where the teacher says she hasn't had time to work out her policies so she doesn't really know what to tell us.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Oh, and then Sunday. I attended a rock concert - complete with smoke systems, strobe lights and sound levels that caused ringing in my ears. And, this coming from the girl who LOVES concerts - I mean loves, loves, loves loud music, strobe lights and smoke. But on Sunday morning? I had no idea when to sing or even if we were supposed to sing because I couldn't even hear myself think. I looked over at Eleanor and tears were streaming down her face. She looked at me and asked, "Where ARE we?"

I feel a bit like the writers of the Psalms who were held captive in a foreign land asking, "How can we sing?" I KNOW where I am supposed to put my trust and my hope...thank God I know that because this has almost been enough to crush my spirit. I look around and wonder, "God...what do you want me to do here? I feel like I am in a foreign land and I can't even begin to minister to people when I need the ministering now."

And as I write this...God brings to mind the last sermon I heard at Elmbrook. Sweet Elmbrook. Sweet Jill Briscoe. She taught us about the widow and the little pot of oil. I have heard it before, I have even read her book, but it obviously is a lesson God wanted me to revisit. I am like the widow - I have NOTHING to give, NOTHING to offer because I feel so empty. Yet...I am not empty and out of faithfulness, I need to start pouring out my oil.

I don't even know where to start. Oh, yes...I do know... my neighbors! When we arrived, our next door neighbors told us this block was "stuck up" and nobody cares about anyone else. We are going to change that. Already, we have asked neighbors to come outside. And last night, there was a rousing game of kick-ball that took place with some of the neighborhood children.

I'll just start here and see what God does next.

1 comment:

Peg said...

I often believe that God puts adoptive parents in foreign lands so we can totally empathize with our adopted children.