Monday, February 22, 2010

The Weight of the World...

Do you ever have one of those days. One of those days when it just feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Ever have one of those weeks? Well, I'm having one, or had one (I HOPE). And yesterday was the worst of it (I HOPE).

I don't know where it came from. Nothing in particular triggered it. I don't think there has been anything especially taxing these days. As a matter of fact things are going pretty smoothly and nothing is really that hectic right now. The only thing I can figure out is the emotional tension of Kai's adoption was relieved when it was finalized, and maybe that release of tension brought forth some bottled up emotions? I have no idea what's happening. But I just can't get my bearings straight.

Most of the time I cope really well with all the stresses in my life. Sometimes I cope so well I forget that most of those stresses are there. But every once in a while, something throws my coping skills off kilter, and I just can't cope at ALL anymore. Early in our marriage this happened more often. I labeled it culture shock, and shut myself up in the house for some major Self-pampering. But I can't do that anymore with children and our now much more advanced ministry obligations.

Yesterday, it all became overwhelmingly clear to me that there is no real place of rest for me (in the physical sense). In Japan I am always a little bit outside my comfort zone. No matter how well I speak the language, no matter how much I've adapted to the food and the lifestyle, no matter how much I really love this country, it is still not my original culture and with that comes the need for extra energy to do even the simplest task. A trip to the grocery store is not always simple, especially when I need to purchase something new, or the packaging on what I normally buy looks different now and I have to figure out if I am getting the same thing but I can't totally read the label, etc. And because houses are smaller here and kitchen storage is limited, I go to the grocery store almost daily, not once a week. That's just ONE example of how even simple daily tasks come with extra challenges for me here. Most of the time, those little stresses don't bother me at all, or I don't feel that they do. but I think it builds up over time without me realizing it. Sometimes, I reach my breaking point.

There is no real place of rest for me in relationships either. Outside of Rocky, spending time with a friend means I most likely have to do it in my second language. I also must try to carry on a conversation in my second language, while myself and probably the other party as well, are trying to keep tabs on 3 or 4 or more busy little children, etc. This stage of motherhood means there is very little "relaxation" with friends and in relationships, plus the added challenge of language and cultural differences.

I could go on and on. And so, one might think, well just visit America and you can rest. But it doesn't work that way. Our trips to America are always hectic, we live out of suitcases, we are on the move constantly, we are always surrounded by people, always a guest in someone's home, always the special guests. Mix in jet lag, reverse culture shock, reversal of our marital roles (because I plan and lead everything while we are stateside, I know where we are going, I know the people we are going to be with, etc. and Rocky has to just tag along) and complete upset in any family routine we might have at home and it's just crazy. Nope, no rest there.

This has been my life for 10 years now and usually I cope quite well with it. But this week I am overwhelmed. and that's not even touching on the things that occupy my thoughts concerning ministry, child raising, homeschooling, English teaching, Bible studies, songs, our future, etc. etc. etc.

I KNOW the only place rest is found is in the arms of Jesus. I know that with all of me. I spent my workout tonight listening to podcasts and one of them was a GREAT message about worship. I needed to hear it.

Don't know where I am going with all this. Don't know when this "fog" I seem to be in is gonna lift and the bright clear view I usually have will return. I think winter and cold dreary days has something to do with it all too.

Anyways, I'm just trying to lean more on Jesus tonight and let him take all this weight I am feeling off me spirit and bring me rest. Yea, working on THAT!


Kim said...

Marla, thanks for writing. You gave such a clear and true description of many of us expat's lives (and mothers of small children)'s lives here in Japan.

I will be praying for spiritual, relational and physical rest for you this week!

My Skype name is ryuandkim. Between us we only have 3 kids, and I'll plug mine into a video!

Take care! Kim

Houdini said...

Hi Marla,
Ditto, ditto, ditto!
You are not alone in feeling burdened. Thankfully we know that God will help lighten the load.
I pray that you find a resting place/time. We struggle with that too!