Monday, August 26, 2013

Life on an island...

 A couple of years ago my parents bought me a kindle... I never thought I would want an e-reader... I'm a huge fan and advocate of holding a book in your hands, but our life overseas and lack of opportunity to buy books in English changed my mind.  One thing I love about my kindle is that I get daily emails from Amazon about books that are on sale... now, this could be quite dangerous for our budget, but my lack of time to read helps me keep my purchases in check.  I like seeing the daily deals because it exposes me to genres I normally wouldn't look at when I go in a bookstore.  I'm currently reading Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell.
It piqued my interest because it was written by a man who decided to live on the island of Cyprus.  While I don't know much about Cyprus or the historical events I'm learning about as I read, I have lived on islands for the last 10 years, so I bought it on sale and started reading it this last week.  I'm a few chapters in and so far it's just a memoir of his arrival, making friends, and the process of purchasing a home, but a few sentences he shared about island life so resonated with me that I can't stop thinking about them... and now I'm sharing them with you. :)  Durrell states,

"Life in an island, however rich, is circumscribed, and one does well to portion out one's   experiences, for sooner or later one arrives at a point where all is known and staled by repetition.  Taken leisurely, with all one's time at one's disposal Cyprus could, I calculate, afford one a minimum of two years reckoned in terms of novelty; hoarded as I intended to hoard it, it might last anything up to a decade.  That is why I wished to experience it through its people rather than its landscape, to enjoy the sensation of sharing a common life with the humble villagers of the place; and later to expand my field of investigation to its history - the lamp which illumines national character - in order to offer my live subjects a frame against which to set themselves."

I've gone through many phases and seasons as we've lived on different islands this last decade.  Guam was quite small, and it was sometimes a relief to leave the island and see the bigger world.  Manila is on the island of Luzon, and in a city of 15 million people, it was sometimes hard to remember we were on an island... so going to the beach was a wonderful getaway from city life.  Okinawa is a large island (to us), filled with many cultural activities, endless sightseeing, and numerous beaches and cafes to explore.  Our life as missionaries has been quite transitory, and the future is frequently unknown.  So when we don't have a plan of how long we will be in a place, or when you know it won't be forever, it's easy to get a little anxious about 'seeing everything'.... as much as schedules and budgets allow. :)

I know that we're unbelievably blessed to live in the part of the world we do and to travel to the many places we have.  But as I look back at the last 10 years, the amazing things we've seen are nowhere near the top of the list of God's blessings... it's the people and relationships that have enriched and transformed our lives.  It's the friends spread out around the world that my heart aches for.  No matter where you live or what you're doing, it's easy for life to become normal and seem mundane.  When that happens, I either get jealous of others who seem to always be having fun or create lists of all the fun things and activities we need to do wherever we currently are.  Of course it's not bad to explore and have adventures, but that can't be everything.  God has so much to teach us through the people he brings into our lives... that is where we experience his love... not in making sure we finally see the great Okinawa tug-of-war. 

I must admit, I do sometimes miss the peace of Chuuk islands....

or the amazing coffee at my favorite cafe
in Baguio...

and thoughts of 'home' can make me quite nostalgic.
But it's the people that fill these memories that make life exciting and hopeful about a new day with new experiences and relationships.  God is always working with me about seeing what he sees TODAY... listening, obeying, and joining in what he has for me just today. 

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

1 comment:

elaine Cornett said...

Thanks for posting Julie. I can relate so well to your post. May God bless you as you walk this journey. Living on an island can have its highs and its lows. The important thing is the call. If you are called then it all works for God's good. Have a great day.