For When Your Loved Ones Don't Understand
(re-posted from http://yellowdressforlove.blogspot.com)
[I say “Don’t Understand” instead of “Disagree” because, obviously, I choose to operate in the realm of: If they understood, then they would agree… but I know that’s not always the case.]
Another aspect of loneliness “out here” is when your loved ones don’t understand the Call you’ve answered. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s sad and maybe you’ve cried. For the most part, my family’s pretty rockstar about this whole thing—I’m blessed to have a family who knows our Father and they keep trusting Him with me, or at least try to. But I know others here, many who have raised their whole families and planted their whole lives here for the sake of their One, True Love, and their loved ones, even after a decade or two, don’t understand.
Living in this region , many people think we’re walking into the face of danger. That we’ve gone to some office, signed a release for our lives and have essentially given up on living. Dramatic? Maybe. Mostly realistic? For many, yes. I get a lot of “WHY”s and shakes of the head and comments saying, “Oh, I could NEVER do that.” or “Wow… you’re so… brave…” or my personal favorite: “Aren’t you just SO scaaaarreedd???” [And this is from people that we love—I’m not gonna even touch how the people we don’t love so much react.]
There’s a difference to be expect based on the like-mindedness of your loved ones. If they aren’t like-minded with you, then… ok. It’s only grace that you can give them. They don’t share your heart or your Love, so it makes sense that maybe they’re not supportive [sometimes, though, these are the most supportive…]. But if they do know your Love personally, and they don’t encourage you, celebrate with you through the struggles and triumphs and “things you do for Love,” then… it’s hard.
And I think it’s totally ok to grieve these things. I think it’s ok to be sad for this loss. Some people’s families, especially my peers’, border on the “Ok, I think he’s got that almost all out of his system,” mentality. They expect us young, singles to go away for a year, maybe two, and then come back to our “senses” and settle down “at home.”
Well… if “home is where the heart is,” and your heart is given to a Relocater named “I AM,” then you’re kinda up a creek. [Or out in a desert under a bazillion twinkling stars conserving water.] Either way, your heart is changed and “home” no longer means the same thing it did just 1,000 days ago or maybe even 100. When friends are distraught that they’re not living up to the [earthly] familial pressures to have a 9-5 job, get married and raise their kids in the suburbs, I tell them, with a gentle smile on my face and a fire in my eyes that, “We. Are. Ruined.”
We’re ruined for the ordinary. Please don’t hear me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with 9-5 jobs, getting married or living in the suburbs. I dig all those things—they’re actually my roots. But I can’t do it. Not right now. So please don’t try to make me. Because this should be ok, too. They say that some “Stay, Pay and Pray” while others “Go, Sow and Grow.” We’re just different parts of the same body—and that’s fantastic. What kills me is when families, couples, singles, humans, are out here, doing their thing for Love and they’re not backed up by the very people they hold dear.
And maybe that’s you today. Maybe your loved ones don’t understand your 3-week stint in the jungle or your 25 years in the city. And I’m here to say: “Ugh. I’m sorry.” Because I am.
Or maybe you’re that person who has a loved one “out there,” and you’re missing each other’s lives. I know that hurts, too. To be left and to be the leaver—they’re both difficult roles to play. I feel those aches. I know what it’s like to have your favorite person/people gone from your everyday life—to be missing from around your table at the holidays, to not see babies grow, to not watch all the Packer games together... and I know what it’s like to be the missing one.
But I also find that it’s in these hurts that there is much beauty. And I think each person needs to come to terms with that themselves. I can’t make anyone understand or agree with my Call. But I do know that my God is strong. I ask Him, for my friends and sometimes for myself, to place a peace and an understanding in our loved ones.
From Mrs Wooly-Head:
I re-posted this because I have been there. Even after 6 years on the field and some time back in the US for home assignment, I still feel it. It is really hard to have people "against" our ministry, for whatever reason. The one thing that really hurts is people who say that we did our children a disservice by taking them to the mission field. Some have been particularly hurtful, saying that we neglected our children due to our call to the ministry. Not true, but no sense in telling these people that. They just don't understand, even though they serve the same Lord.