The posts on this blog, while all under the umbrella of cross-cultural issues, cover an array of topics. All of these are interesting to me, but some of the most important to me are on the topics of transitioning between cultures and creating “home” away from “home.”
In the missionary community, helping in these areas is called “member care,” and it is informed by a biblical world view. As a former missionary, this is my view, as well. But member care is not limited to missionaries. It can help all cross-cultural workers who need spiritual, emotional, relational, and intellectual support.
Transition is often a difficult process and lasts well beyond the physical trip. Though there are many voices telling us about the challenges of working cross culturally, many of the stories are not shared eagerly or in public. Rather, they come out in safe places and only in response to careful and gentle prodding.
There are several images that conjure up thoughts of those conversations: a kitchen table, side-by-side cups of coffee, the corner booth in a cafe, a front porch.
For me, it’s a park bench.
I’m not always comfortable with talking face-to-face. It’s easier for me to sit next to someone, with the option of staring into the distance or both of us getting up for a walk. Some of my deepest conversations, with people and with God, have taken place on park benches—at the edge of a mountain trail, in a park, next to a playground, in the courtyard of an apartment complex, at a bus stop on a busy street.
At Clearing Customs, the park-bench talks center on the difficulties of transition, on the grief that comes from losses associated with moves, on finding confidants who are able to listen without judgment. If those topics are relevant to you, too, please follow the category links below.
All of the topics in this blog are interesting to me, but these are some of the most important to me.
[photo: “City Park in Fall,” by Michael Williams, used under a Creative Commons license]