The other day we went to a friends’ house for a play date and the host graciously served cake on one of her fine china settings. We all enjoyed our cake in the kitchen even though the room was quite small. With 6 adults and children all crowded around a small table, there was not much wiggle room. Unfortunately, one of our kids accidentally dropped a dish onto the tile floor and it shattered.
The host became noticeably upset. She understood the circumstances but was saddened that a treasured piece from her set was broken and could not be replaced. After many apologies, the topic of discussion changed to the experience of being foreigners in a new country. Our friend (who was born in another country) married a German national and understands many of the experiences we encounter. Towards the end of the conversation, she said that surprise losses, like the broken dish, are part of living in a land different than our own. Every day holds an element of surprise and adventure. While we relish the adventure, we don’t always know how to prepare for the “surprise” losses we experience. We find ways of either coping or letting things go.
As foreigners and missionaries, we cannot expect that everything will stay intact and the whole precious collection will remain as it was. At the same time, we realize the importance of hanging on to our cultural identities. We try our best to allow each new experience to teach us something about ourselves and the culture we live in. We continue to let the surprises keep us on our toes and we choose to live in the moment. The Lord provides an abundance of comfort at times and in other times, takes it away. Today, we encourage you to live into your surprises, positive and negative, and embrace the lessons they provide.