Goodbyes

One of the hardest parts about the kind of life we lead is all the ‘goodbyes’ you have to say. In the last month we’ve had to say goodbye to 5 of our closest friends as they returned to England for an uncertain period of time, and within the next couple months a few more will be added to that number. And, that’s in just a couple months out of almost 5 years of living here. To think of all the people that have come into our lives and hearts over the last several years, and then to whom we’ve had to say goodbye, are too many to name.

When you live in a country that’s not your home country, solid frienships and relationships are the sole things that keep you going at times. Without them, you’d go crazy. However, by now we’ve met more than a few people who upon hearing a certain individual say they are only planning to live in Taiwan for a year or two, immediately shut down and don’t bother to pursue a relationship with them. Sounds harsh, huh? It does, but it is something we can completely relate to. Usually the first question we will ask a new person (foreigner especially) is, “So, how long do you plan to live in Taiwan?” If the answer is a year or two, an invisible wall, unconsciously as it may be, goes up. Why you ask? Because it’s just too hard. It’s too emotionally draining.

So, what to do right? We need relationships. Foreign as well as Taiwanese. But, when very few foreigners plan to live in Taiwan long-term as we do, how do you balance the need, while at the same protecting your heart from the very real pain goodbyes bring? That’s still a question we don’t have a concrete answer to. All we know is, if you continually keep yourself closed up, you’ll wither away. But, at the same time, if you try to be close friends with everyone, you’ll burn out. So, while we have learned numerous lessons during the last several years here, one life-long lesson has been – God gives and He takes away. Investing in people is something you usually will never regret. His peace surpasses the pain of goodbyes. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Goodbye Lunch with Dear Friends

Goodbye lunch with dear friends

 

First-World Problems

Early this week I watched a YouTube video my friend posted called “100 First World Problems”. As the title suggests, this video names 100 of the most common ‘problems’ experienced by people living in first world countries. As I watched it, I found it eye-opening and disheartening at the same time. Eye-opening in the sense of just how fortunate I am that these are the kinds of problems I have, and disheartening to think just how often we live in our little bubbles and become consumed in our ‘problems’, when in comparison to a large majority of our world, they aren’t problems at all.

After watching this video, every time myself, Erich, Niall, or Hannah (our housemates) complained about something, one of us would say “first world problem” and we’d regain a proper perspective on the situation. Well, I definitely think God has a sense of humor as we are in the process of learning things. Two days ago, as I was wrapping up a session at a shelter for teenage girls, my iPhone dropped out of my bag and onto the floor smashing the screen (here I might inject that this is the 2nd time this has happened to me). As I stared at it lying on the ground my immediate thought was, “Again?! You’ve got to be kidding me. I have the worst luck.” But, no more than 2 minutes past until I heard a little voice inside my head saying “first world problem”. Here I was, at a shelter for teenage girls who have suffered lives of abuse, abandonment, pain, and hurt, and I’m upset about my iPhone breaking. Unfortunate? Yes. A problem? I don’t think so.