Monday, October 17, 2011
One Month and Counting....
Thirty days. One month. Four weeks.
I can't believe it's already been that long. The time has flown by. It feels like only a week ago I stepped off of that airplane onto French soil looking forward to the adventures that would take place (and maybe a warm bed and a cup of coffee). I had a feeling that time would go by really fast. It generally does when you're in a new and exciting place.
Living in a different culture is difficult. Every moment is an effort, every day is learning a new lifestyle. Things which took no thought before suddenly become mini crises, and some things are learned the hard way. "Note to self: when going grocery shopping, please remember that everything you purchase must be brought back via bus and quite a bit of walking." Some things about France I really, really enjoy. Some things I'll never understand. Like the fake-kiss thing you have to do with every single person every single time you arrive and depart somewhere. I can't even tell you how many complete strangers I've bumped cheeks with while making kissy noises. And however awkward that might sound, the French make it so natural. And perhaps it is natural, because it's a tradition that's been passed down for centuries I'm sure.
I feel like I never really know what's going on. I'm not usually quite sure if I've said or done the right thing, or if I've done a silly American thing that hopefully everyone will forgive me for. I desperately hope that people won't speak French to me, even though I really need to practice. Even though I know a few phrases here and there, the thought of actually using them makes me a little panicky. And while I can usually pick up on the general gist of the conversation (if the people are Americans or maybe even French talking extremely slowly), I don't really know exactly what they're saying. An effort, every moment is an effort.
A few days after I got here, I had a moment of near horror as I was watching the many high school aged students walking by on the street below. I wanted to talk to them, to share Jesus with them. But then I realized that even if I did somehow miraculously get the chance to talk to them, I would only be able to speak to those who knew English. It broke my heart thinking about it. Only those who speak English.... Who is going to share the gospel with them in French? How are they going to hear?
I feel helpless here. But it's kind of okay. Because this feeling of helplessness has caused me to lean on Him like I never have before. That's the best. thing. ever. I wouldn't trade my position in Him for anything. And I'm so glad I'm in France.
Sometimes on my walks, I watch people go by, and my heart becomes so heavy when I think about the fact that there's a 99% chance that they don't know Him, because only 1% of the population really does. And I feel like they're all little droplets of water that slip through my fingers, because I just can't reach them.
There's an excerpt from one of Amy Carmichael's books that I read recently that resonates deep within me. It seems like she looked into my heart and scripted the way I see the people here. One month into my France adventure, and this is how I feel....
Oh God, convict the hearts of France.