This week the USA celebrates Independence Day!
As a U.S. Citizen, I grew up being very proud of:
- My country – where people came to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
- My family – who left everything behind in their countries of origin because of oppression and poverty and came to the U.S. to pursue those ideals.
And even prouder of: My relatives and friends that served to defend the freedom of others.
Moving to the big sandbox we live in now took lots of prayer and courage because many of the freedoms I always cherished don’t exist here. …But we came believing that we were supposed to seek to understand and to learn.
We weren’t here very long when a neighbor challenged me to consider that Americans don’t have a corner on the market on freedom. I accepted her challenge and have been listening and experiencing for a little more than two years. And although we don’t have it all figured out yet, this is a bit of what we are learning…
When we announced our plans to move to a giant sandbox on the other side of the world. I promised to share both the beauty and the struggle of our experiences.
It’s been easier to capture the beauty and share it.
- Mostly because it’s energy-filled, it bubbles out and I know that people will be encouraged by it.
Sharing the negative side is tougher.
- Because it’s hard to write about the things that cause frustration and pain without being judgmental.
- And it’s even harder to write about them without feeling negative and heavy. (And that is not something I want to pass on to anyone.)
The reality is that our lives here are both beautiful and hard.
I grew up in a little town in North Dakota, where we had four very distinct seasons. My favorite as a child was summer – because I absolutely love being in the water!
It was refreshing, peaceful, freeing, great exercise and fun!
Unless we were camping by the lake… We would pedal our bicycles to the pool multiple times every single day. In the morning for an hour of lessons, then for three hours of open swimming in the afternoon and occasionally in the evening for another two – three hours of playing in the water!
If gills or a mermaid tail had been an option I would have them!
A few years ago I met a young woman that loved being in the water even more than I do. As a child she was on swim teams and lived in the pool. But at a very young age she was diagnosed with a disease that has impacted her body a lot like ALS.
I live more than 7,000 miles from my home, in an expat compound on the other side of the world.
Shortly after we moved here, one of my neighbors was venting about a conflict he had with another neighbor. In the midst of his anger he said, “I don’t know how the compound can let people live here that don’t have any integrity.”
Hit the pause button.
Replay… “I don’t know how the compound can let people live here that don’t have any integrity.”
Have you ever struggled to figure out how to leverage a strength that is coming across as a weakness?
If you’ve ever watched popcorn pop, you’ll understand one of mine.
One little kernel heats up, flies into the air and explodes into light fluffy happiness. POP!
Then a couple more kernels join the fun! POP! POP!
Then a few more! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP!
Soon the party is in full swing, as the noise, chaos, and joy increase rapidly! POP! Pop! POP! Pop! POP! POP!!! POP!!!!
That’s me and…
For many years I sat in meetings:
- Excited by the challenge of problem solving.
- Fueled by the opportunity to be creative and to collaborate.
And frustrated because I could not clearly articulate what was happening inside my brain.