Wednesday, December 16, 2015

puzzle pieces

Lately I've been pondering the idea of how cross-cultural work is just like any other job. 


I think the ways they are different shine bright. (These are often exaggerations)
- living near family vs. living far away
- paid by a company vs. paid by God through donations
- viewed as unimportant vs. lifted up on a pedestal of eternal value
- a 9am-5pm job vs. 24/7 commitment
- no breaks vs. home assignment every 2-3 years

But the similarities often times go unnoticed. 
When was the last time you or someone you know started a new job? How nervous were you before the interview? Was this something you've always wanted? Did you choose it or did God hand it to you? Did you feel completely unworthy or incapable or fully prepared? Did you know everything the job would entail before you said yes? Were you excited? Did it come with some changes you had to make? Were there any compromises you had to work through? Were there some people who fully supported you and others who told you you were crazy? Did others discourage you in the process?

I have a feeling we would answer these questions very similarly. 

Right now I feel like a puzzle has just been poured out on a table. The completed picture sits on the front of the box tilted for viewing… we know where were headed. But, we haven't started the job yet... all the pieces are yet to be put together. 

As we start working, we try pieces and rarely get ones to fit on our first try. We do find though as pieces start to come together that little corners or pockets begin to show signs of what is to come.

Doing a puzzle is a lot more fun with others. When someone else sits down they often find a few quick pieces because their eyes haven’t been staring at it for as long as you have. Other people give us a unique perspective as we invite them in to work on the puzzle with us.

Putting a puzzle together is a calming thing for me. I love the way it causes me to slow down, focus on one thing, and smile when two pieces fall into place perfectly. The decision to move my faith departure date to at least February didn’t feel like a perfect fit the first time I tried putting the pieces together. But I have a feeling I had been looking at those two pieces for a long time, doubting they would work together.

The best part… there is still a whole puzzle yet to be put together! It’s not something to be solved at one sitting. The process is to be enjoyed over time. A few pieces here and there. People come and sit at the table with you and sometimes silence while working on the puzzle is the most glorious thing. However a party happens when one of those persons finds two pieces that fits and what a joyous occasion to have someone to share it with!

Can I invite you to sit down and work on this puzzle with me? You have to know we won’t finish it in one sitting… that takes all the fun out of it. But having someone to celebrate little accomplishments means the world to me. You’ve got questions? Feel free to break the silence. But know that I haven’t started that job yet, I may not know all the answers and the puzzle is only just beginning to be started.

But I can tell you, the picture at the end; it’s a beautiful one!

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