We are about to re-enter our ‘home culture’. You’d think this would be easy…but from what we hear…it’s not. We’ve heard it explained by using the analogy of a wooden block. The corners and edges of our wooden block have been sanded and re-shaped by our years living cross-culturally. Our block doesn’t fit snuggly into its square shaped space anymore. Our ‘shape’ has changed. WE ARE CHANGED…and we are thankful. We are not saying that our former shapes were wrong. We are merely recognizing that we have new shapes and we have lovingly embraced our ‘new look.’
One of the things that have shaped us is ‘living in community.’ I blogged a few posts back about the beauty and joy of living in community. There have been many, many times that I have borrowed an egg or a cup of sugar from a neighbor. Within our neighborhood, we share yard tools or kitchen gadgets because it is an unnecessary expense for us ALL to own EVERYTHING. I don’t have an 8x8 glass baking dish to make brownies in…but my neighbor has one and is happy to lend it to me.
What makes moving away from my neighbors, whom I love and let me borrow whatever item I don’t have, even more sobering is that we have now sold or given away ninety-five percent of our material possessions—for the second time in 6 years! Aside from the ‘high’ I get from purging my closets and cupboards, it still leaves us with the ‘keepsakes’ of life rather than the practical items needed to live everyday life. The assumption in returning to the land of Wal-Mart, Target and amazon.com is that NOW we don’t need community—we can just buy what we need. And honestly, in my former shape, before some of my edges got sanded off, I bought what I needed without much thought. We certainly could use our credit card to buy what is needed—and use the ‘credit’ the card provides—however, I am hoping that before I take the road of self-sufficiency and ease, I will consider if there is someone in my community that can help me out. One of the gifts that I have received by being re-shaped is the recognition that dependency on others is not a weakness, but rather a strength. The strength of our community is found in our ‘need’ for one another.
Somehow, I’d like to bring this gift back to the States with me. Perhaps, you should start praying for my future neighbors!!!!
[I hope you will stick with me over the next days, weeks and months as we get re-acquainted with our home culture, for I DO plan on externally processing this transition on the blog. It may not be as ‘glamorous’ as moving to Nicaragua, yet, I am sure there will be a few things that might make a worthy post! ]