Culture shock–I thought I was numb to it. With as much travel as we have been doing and as much change as this last year has included, I thought very little could further shock me…about someone doing something differently than me or something being different than what I was accustomed too. Well, pride cometh before a fall!
In some ways I think culture shock is hitting me more gradually than in one blow, but today I have been reflecting on the differences of the three cultures we have lived in over the last two months. And, that’s when I realized the shock of the varying cultures.
From the extremely low prices of groceries in Honduras to the slightly more expensive and vastly more options available in America to the definitely more expensive but very fresh and exotic products in Ireland, I feel confused. I think I need to retake Economics to understand how prices can vary so much in our world. When we were in Ohio, we scratched our heads wondering how gas could be $3.49 on one corner and a few blocks down be $3.24, but this is a whole new level of price differential. But, alas, I am learning to shop well where I am because there is little else I can do about it.
However, one of the things proving to be most difficult to adjust to is the reality of living farther north on the globe–dark mornings. After easily waking up at 5 or 5:30 in Honduras with the rising sun and enjoying the stillness of the morning, we are shocked at the difficulty of getting out of bed at 7 am here. The sun does not really rise until nearly 9 o’clock! And, the morning (or any time of day, for that matter) is definetely not still or quiet living in the heart of the city. Mornings have always represented the newness brought with the first light and the stillness before the work, but I think the Lord is teaching me to find that rest and peace in Him. As E. Stanley Jones explained, our “inner stances” not our circumstances are what is important.
And, despite dark mornings, God is revealing Himself to me here through our servant-hearted co-workers and personal time with Him. I know He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).