"My dear friend, we are back in the ER. His symptoms got worse, and the MRI shows that his brain bleed has gotten bigger."
30 minutes later...
"They are getting ready to fly us to San Francisco for emergency brain surgery. Please pray."
It was difficult to watch my dear friend go through a life-threatening situation with her husband, and not be there to help in any way. Not be there to sit by her. Not be there to get her a cup of coffee or force her to eat breakfast.
But sometimes physically 'being there' can be just as difficult- when your culture is so vastly different than the other person's.
"Well, your husband doesn't beat you, so..." (...so you can't know what I'm going through.)
- what is 'normal' in many parts of PNG, and
- what God teaches us in His Word
And so it goes that some of the women that my coworker Aimee and I are here to disciple, carry the burden of being beaten by their husbands from time to time.
How do I "be there" for a woman who is hesitant to open her ears because she knows that my husband does not beat me?
These are just some of my recent thoughts and questions. If you were expecting an Ann Voskamp-style revelation at the end, well sorry, there isn't one. There are enough real** bloggers out there now to tickle our ears. How about the wannabe*** bloggers who just have questions? Do we have time as sisters in Christ to just ask questions of each other?
Actually.... that's what it came down to for BOTH of the scenarios I shared today. Asking questions, and giving answers, and asking more questions, and giving more answers. Why does it come down to that? Because within that kind of open communication lies relationship. How? Because both asking questions and giving answers demonstrates that we are listening, not only with our ears, but with our hearts. Without communicating, relationship fizzles out into mere acquaintance. And there is usually very little trust between mere acquaintances.
For my dear friend, she and I were able to send emails and texts back and forth throughout that week. She told me how much she cherished the communication we shared during her crisis. I had told her I was so sorry I couldn't 'be there', but she rebuked me saying, "No, you were SO there."
|one of the Tigak ladies|
For the women here in the tribe, the only way I can continue getting to know them is to ask questions, be a good listener, ask more questions from their answers, and seek the Lord's wisdom for when to ask questions and when to offer Biblical answers. In this way, I can 'be there' for them, even though we are so very different. Culturally, I may never be able to 'be there' for them they way one of their Tigak sisters in Christ can, because I am, in its simplest human form, a foreigner, and always will be. That's just a reality. But with good discipleship, it's a beautiful reality that the Tigak ladies will learn to love and pour into and be there for one another as sisters in Christ, spurring each other on to become more and more like Him.
*There are VERY good and important reasons for missionaries to go home. Some life events are irreplaceable, and wisdom is always needed in knowing when to go home, and when to send a greeting.
**More than 10 followers
***Less than 10 followers, like me. Ha! But I'm not after followers, or being "known" as a 'blogger', just for the record.