I’m not sure I have a typical day. I mean, some things are pretty predictable: wake up, take the boys to school, eat breakfast, pick the boys up from school, go to sleep.
Everything else generally falls into the to be determined category. Don’t get me wrong—I make plans. I have routines. But if I’ve learned anything by living in Uganda, my daily life is rarely described as predictable.
Just the other day I was expressing my frustration to a friend about how things always seem to be extra complicated. The conversation reminded me of a line in the theme song of an old cartoon I used to watch as a kid (The Animaniacs): expect the unexpected. I’ve really got to start doing that.
Here are some recent complications that seem to be dominating my daily life:
- The water in my tank going out right as I step into the shower. (Thankfully I hadn’t lathered up yet.)
- My computer power cord randomly going on the fritz the day before an online video chat meeting with board members scattered around the globe.
- My purse being stolen out of my bedroom window, and the COUNTLESS hours and expenses that I’ve spent over several weeks in following-up the case and trying to replace what was taken. (I still haven’t fully recovered all the important things that were inside, but I’m getting close!)
- Power going out for over 24 hours at a time.
- Rain quickly approaching and drenching all the laundry hanging outside while I’m not home, so they underwent a second rinse…over the course of several hours.
- Random visitors popping in and forcing me to abandon the tasks in front of me, and serve a cup of tea instead.
- My child’s teacher calling to let us know he forgot his sweater at school on the last day before the three week holiday (aka break), and going to pick it up. This trip should have taken about 15 minutes, but led to seeing various people stranded in the rain, giving them rides around town, and returning home almost 2 hours later.
- People who were supposed to come to a meeting at my house cancelling, just after I had started cooking lunch for the several adults I was anticipating.
- Someone announcing he is coming to my house for lunch on a day I was not planning to cook, and a PB&J certainly wouldn’t be acceptable to his foreign palette.
- The friend’s pig, whom we always feed our table scraps and food waste, was sold. So I need to find a new solution for that bucket of accumulating garbage.
I imagine daily life is a bit unpredictable for everyone but living as a foreigner makes it feel extreme. The unexpected seems a bit more, well, unexpected than it did in my passport country. Surely when I lived in the USA I had interruptions to my day, but not in the same ways.
In the USA, I never turned on the shower to find no water coming out, had my purse stolen out of my window, dried my clothes outside with no alternative when it rained, nor figured out a new solution to my once-pig-food garbage.
So, here I am trying to gain a new perspective on these types of daily interruptions.Though I have things I actually do need to accomplish and give my attention, I need to be more flexible and open to what daily life really involves, reacting with a more positive attitude.
Ultimately, the life God has for us is an accumulation of these daily activities and events. I want to see them as a part of His overall plans. Plans for where He is directing me in the grand scheme of things, but also in His development of my character within the daily details. I desire more patience, gratitude, hospitality, and kindness.
…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, (Romans 5:3-5).
Usually our daily issues are more like inconveniences than sufferings, but I think the concept still applies.
Let’s embrace the unexpected interruptions to our daily lives, in order to build up Christ-like character as we continue to serve Him where He has placed us—power outages and all.
What kind of interruptions do you experience in your daily life? Do you find them more challenging on the field than in your passport country? How have your daily inconveniences helped you develop more Christ-like character?