Thursday, May 14, 2009

By Carrie in China -

Is there something about your lives and work currently that you wish your friends and family could 'just get' but is difficult to communicate without walking in your shoes?

Our close friends and family are really understanding about our lives and our work. They are incredibly supportive, and almost all of them have been to China and understand first-hand what it is we do. But, if I were to pick something, I would say that most people (not necessarily talking about close friends/family) don't understand what working so closely to deep suffering, loss, and injustice does to a person. Experiencing this reality has really changed the way we think about God. Our faith is less black and white than it used to be. We're more comfortable with unanswered questions and ambiguity than most people. Sometimes when we share something we've seen and experienced (like grappling with a child's death), people try to respond with things that they think will make us feel better -- like "Well, God needed another angel!" I used to think that way, but I don't really anymore... without getting into a big theological discussion, I'll just say that we've learned nothing is simple and black and white. We can't easily explain-away the pain and suffering we see in the world with some discussion about "God's will." At one time we thought we could, but that was before pain and suffering was something we personally saw on a daily basis. So, it is hard when people don't understand what it's like to live with that reality on a daily basis. Also, sometimes (when I'm in the USA), I find myself in conversations where people are talking about things that I don't really care about anymore... I'm not judging them; it's just that I realize there's a giant gulf between who I was and who I am now.
(Exactly, exactly. Thanks Carrie!)