Thursday, December 12, 2013

Here and There

It's unsettling.

I don't care what anybody says.

I don't even care if they think I'm just plain old.

There's a whole lot of stuff 
to get used to 
around here

which feels really odd since this is the land where I was born.

I know that part of the adjustment I'm having to make has to do with living in a different location. Now we need a car so I have to remember to check the gas gauge when we're out driving around.

LORD, thank you for having the little red light come on that one time.

Of course putting gas in the tank means another whole round of adjustments. Where can we get the best price? What is the best price right now? Oh, well, we need fuel right away. We better just buy it here.

Since our budget is increasingly being pushed beyond it's limit I spend a fair amount of time trying to coordinate trips to the store with dropping someone off or picking someone up from an activity. Our daughter, The Mom, has every errand combined with at least three other stops on a trip so I have no hope of competing with her.

I'm sure it's all a cultural thing. It seems this type of running here and there for one thing and another has become part of the warp and woof of life in the USA. 

I seem to spend so much energy organizing my days as efficiently as possible that I have very little spark left keep up with things when we get back to the house. Timing is a big part of that process. 

You see, sometimes I forget to buy (or discover I need) an ingredient for a recipe. When that happens I can't simply ask Curt to go downstairs and pick it up at the shop in our building - or walk to one of several shops in our neighborhood. That means I have to concentrate when I shop to make sure I'm buying everything I think I'll need for at least the next seven days. 

I confess I never realized how much the setting and general tone of the world around me affects my days. I was pretty good at it all myself when we lived here and I'm making progress in adapting. It's just that I was living very differently in Prague and now I'm not there.

I have to say though that there's at least one thing with which I'm not sure I can or want to become comfortable - speakers.

Speakers seem to be everywhere, in the doctor/dentist's office, the grocery store aisle, various shops, airports, malls, and now even at gas pumps.

Maybe that's old news to you, but when we stop to get gas there are now announcements being made while we sit or stand there. It feels INVASIVE.

The first time I realized what was happening to me was when an image popped into my head from a trip we made to Lithuania. On a day off we visited a Communist museum. It was a remake of an interment camp complete with buildings, fences, uniforms, propaganda materials, and so forth. At one point we were walking around the property, our eyes enjoyed the natural scenery but our ears were bombarded with messages in Russian. 

Speakers posted all around the area blared out pro-communist rhetoric. I couldn't understand a single word, but the overbearing fervor of the tone was quite disconcerting. We couldn't chat with our friends. I could barely hear myself think. 

It was odd and upsetting, to say the least, to be 'transported' from an American gas station in the early 21st century back to a Russian indoctrination center in the mid-20th century.

I felt an actual chill.

I decided then and there that I will not be adjusting to every aspect of the cultural context in which I find myself these days. Instead I will continue to read and meditate on God's Word, pursue a life of prayer and obedience, and join with the saints in holy fellowship.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:1,2

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