When the only thing that’s consistent is change.
When the hellos all lead to goodbyes.
When the chaos leads us to crave monotony.
HOW do we keep our community healthy?
How do we keep ourselves soft and open to new friends? How do we keep digging in knowing we will have our roots eventually transplanted?
A few years ago, I wrote about the transient community we live in abroad. I was fresh to the field and was processing my own grief in saying goodbye to a dear friend I had made in my first year overseas. I was determined to keep connecting with my community.
I remember distinctly a comment on that post from a more seasoned expat, “We’ll see what you say about all this in a few years…”
And maybe I took that as a challenge. Or maybe I left that comment on a mental sticky note to remember every time I have to say another goodbye.
But it’s been a few years now, and I am still fighting for community in my real life. Fighting to embrace change. Fighting to stay tender to the people coming in and going out of my front door.
It truly is a fight. I don’t use that word lightly. Because what our hearts want to do is say, Enough with the sting! Enough of the change! Enough, already!
But it’s in our DNA now, friends.
As expats, it is absolutely our DNA that change is inevitable…and we have adapted our behavior along with it.
No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we think the consistency of a predictable lifestyle will bring us peace and ultimate joy, I wonder.
The sheer unpredictability of a life overseas rewrites the story of our DNA in such a way that we come to expect the unexpected. We grow comfortable with the change. And I dare say we crave the surprises.
I write things like this on days that I’m content with my life abroad so that on the days when I’m hugging friends at the airport, saying goodbye to teammates, or mourning the loss of some aspect of daily rhythm, I’m cool.
Because being a friend of change is the best way to embrace a life overseas.
I’ve been a contributor for Velvet Ashes for almost 4 years now. And perhaps this isn’t the most appropriate place to share this. But I want to express my love for this online community and the way we pour into each other through our computer screens.
I’m taking a break from blogging for the rest of the year while I focus on other life “stuff,” and as ridiculous as it sounds, I feel like I’m mourning the death of popping into your email inbox here and there.
So want to leave you with a *dying* wish. Gah, morbid.
Friends, STAY HEALTHY.
Take care of you. And don’t feel ashamed to speak up for what you need and what you want.
If we are not taking care of ourselves, our families cannot be healthy and our communities cannot be healthy. Find freedom in that.
In the same breath, PUSH HARDER.
There are challenges in your lives and there are ways to escape them, or there are ways to tackle them. I pray you choose to tackle them, with the power of the Holy Spirit, the example of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God our Father by your side.
Push harder, and stay healthy. Push harder. Stay healthy. Keep that cycle going as you maneuver all the highs and lows of this life we live.
You are my people, and I’m honored to do life with you.
In his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero mentions some common defense maneuvers people use to avoid hurt. I’m curious, when you see change on the horizon, do you:
Lean towards denial that change is coming?
Minimize the hurt, pretending it’s not as painful as it really is?
Blame others for causing the change?
Blame yourself for the change that’s happening?
Distract yourself to avoid mourning the loss of what’s changing?
Intellectualize your way through the process, focusing on “right feelings”?
Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels