What is the key to living out a truly global mindset at home?
No question, sometimes it can be easy to get so caught up in the demands of our own lives. In our own struggles, physical and emotional.
But when we design our lives for global good, we seek to look outward to the needs of others. This not only helps and blesses them, but, with the right mindset, it strengthens our inner core as well.
Here are a few examples of how this unfolded one day not too long ago for me. And it all happened at home, where I live.
Straddling the Pacific
My longtime Chinese friend and I walked briskly for an hour, catching up on one another’s lives, sharing hopes and dreams of the future.
But her life spanning two cultures has been full of challenge. Her husband and university professorship remain back at home. But their U.S.-born son has been going through the education system in the U.S., preparing to attend a top university. Her weariness is palpable, but she also trusts she will make it through.
Dreams Dashed, New ones Reborn
I sit down for tea with a newer friend from Bolivia. She met her American husband while he was serving in the Peace Corps there. They have a daughter. Their relationship has been rocky all along. She spent time away with her parents to recover, bringing her daughter with her. He lured her back to the U.S. But now, he has mistreated her and not long ago served her divorce papers.
But she is determined to survive and thrive. In fact, with some money she has recently saved, she is starting her own business. And there is a gleam in her eye.
Finding an Oasis of Calm
I enjoy lunch with my Pakistani friend. Our conversation is light. She will return home soon, as her husband will finish his course of study. This friend will return to her demanding career as a doctor.
She turns to me in all seriousness: “You know, I have become so comfortable being alone here. In fact, I really like it. I don’t know if it is something in the water, or what. But it seems easier here. I feel at home.”
She goes on. “We cannot find that in Pakistan. It is loud, with all the horns honking. And all the family members. Everybody knows what everybody is doing all the time.”
And then she lets me in on a secret.
“I drop the children off for school. When I come back, I make myself a steaming cup of coffee and head across the street to the playground. It is quiet there – no kids. I will sit there and enjoy that quiet, looking out at the trees, cherishing the moment.”
“In fact, I’ve never experienced this in my whole life.”
I told her, she can take the memory – and the practice of being still – back with her. She nods in agreement.
A Longing and Differences across Cultures
I spend time with two other friends, one from Taiwan, the other from Brazil. They have enjoyed a sweet friendship, along with a host of Turkish friends. These two will head home soon.
The Taiwanese woman pours us Turkish tea, even though the Turkish friends are nowhere to be found this day. Then she shares her heart.
She and her husband want a baby so bad. But it has been a struggle and she is worried about her age. “Do you think we should keep trying? What if I get pregnant and the baby has…she struggles, I help her…Trisomy 21 [Down Syndrome]?”
The Brazilian lady, who already has a child, reassures her. “You will be fine! You cannot know until you try. And, I believe, God will give you love for whatever child you have. You could adopt, you know.”
I glance at my Taiwanese friend. As I am quite familiar with East Asian cultures, I also understand how that is not as acceptable in her part of the world.
[Postscript: This Taiwanese friend did trust God and is now a very happy mother of a healthy baby girl!]
Why All these Anecdotes Together?
This was one of my days not too long ago. From China…to Bolivia…to Pakistan…then on to Taiwan and Brazil (with a splash of Turkey), I traveled around the globe as I met with these ladies. And this all happened where I live, in my city, at home. I listened to their stories, sympathized with their challenges and pain, offered them gentle, encouraging words and prayer. Spoke of God’s love, hope and possibility for each of them.
I didn’t broker peace deals in the Middle East. I didn’t bring a trade agreement to life. And I didn’t lead the charge in helping migrants resettle in Europe. Seems I won’t make a headline.
But I know God used me to gently share His love for each one of these precious people. To be Jesus to those who know him. And to those who don’t.
And that is how God can use you, too.
Making It Real
Your context may or may not be across cultures. But it is across lives. Never underestimate the impact you can have as you connect and make yourself available.
The demands of life keep us busy, no doubt. But learning to develop pockets in our days – or even give days like this to others – deepens the well of understanding and love so needed in our parched world.
Was I tired at the end of this day? You bet!
But did I also feel refreshed? Yes again.
Knowing we are using our time well to bless others infuses life into us as well. This is true whether we are an extrovert or introvert; in either case, we will need time to reflect and refuel after an intense day of relating like I share above.
But we will know, the day wasn’t wasted. It counted. Maybe not in the headlines, but in the heavens.
Have you experienced a day like this before? If so, please share briefly about it with us!
Image Credit: StockSnap at Pixabay, Creative Commons
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