Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"It's not necessarily right or wrong, it's just different"

We read this a number of times when we were getting ready to come to Argentina. The mission we're with requires their new missionaries read certain books as part of the preparation, and this phrase stuck in my mind. From our previous experience in Uganda, we know we sometimes have a tendency to get frustrated or aggravated with the way things are done. But we also know that once we are aware of the "why" behind something, it often helps things fall into place and make more sense. Not always, but often.

And sometimes things just make absolutely no sense :)

[That's how I feel about the whole bureaucracy thing.]

Whether they make sense or not, many things fall into that broad category of "not necessarily right or wrong, just different."

Last night we returned to Cordoba again, but this time for an entirely different purpose: a doctor appointment. Ivan's been seeing an ENT specialist who's in Carlos Paz once a week but the doctor wanted him to come to his office in Cordoba where he could perform additional tests. Ivan wanted me to consult with this doctor, too, to see if sinus issues might be causing my migraines. Guess what time our appointment was for? 8:30 PM

When we arrived the waiting room was full and people were spilling over onto chairs that lined the hallway back to the exam rooms, so it wasn't surprising that we weren't called back until almost 9:45 PM.

And it was 11:30 PM when we finally pulled into our driveway.

I don't remember ever going to the doctor that late at night in the U.S. unless it was a visit to the emergency room. Here it's not at all unusual. Not necessarily right or wrong, just different.

On the way to Cordoba last night we got a call from friends asking if we'd be home this morning and after we said yes, they said they'd be stopping by.

At 11 AM they did indeed stop by, with a large pan of goat meat to grill, and our co-workers! [Our co-workers didn't know anything about this either; the friends stopped by there first and said, "Come on, let's go have lunch!"]

I had just cleaned up the kitchen, had a load of laundry in the washer, and was getting ready to clean the bathroom. I was dressed in my sweatpants and an old, stained turtleneck. Not exactly ready for company who had come for lunch! LOL  I quickly changed, visited with the ladies and showed them how to make those cute little fabric flowers, made a pot of rice with vegetables to go with the goat, Ivan ran out for bread and tangerines and it was all good. 

I don't remember this ever happening in the U.S. -- but we had a great time and I know the bathroom will eventually get cleaned [just maybe not until we get back from Buenos Aires] [Hopefully I'll get the kitchen cleaned up before then though -- right now there's a mountain of dishes]. Again, this kind of thing is not necessarily right or wrong, just different.

Missionaries come in all shapes and sizes, from all different backgrounds, each equipped with different gifts and abilities...but one thing that each and every missionary MUST have is flexibility, able to "go with the flow".

I have to admit, I'm not real great in this area. BUT I'M LEARNING. I can understand intellectually that things are not necessarily right or wrong, just different, but still have a difficult time handling the differences on a practical level. Thankfully I've adjusted enough to the culture that most things don't phase me any more. And I have a great (and exceedingly patient) husband who calls me on it when they do :)


Betty said...

I just know, I would be a really bad missionary! I admire you for being so flexible and making the best out of that unexpected visit. I can tell people really like you guys, or else they would not come over like that.
Dr´s appointments are really late in Asuncion too. I guess it´s a Latin thing.

Mari said...

That's a good phrase. I could learn a lot about going with the flow if I lived there. Like Betty said - I probably wouldn't be a good missionary either!

skoots1mom said...

it's all about recognizing the 'blessings' as they come, different sometimes is the MOST awesome! Glad you got in to see the doc...hope all goes well with the ENT, too.
would you say an extra prayer for my mama...she's recently found out she's in early stages of mac/degeneration in her right eye...i believe the 'wet' kind, so they are able to hopefully slow it down with meds...she's been pretty low though, which is VERY strange for her. thanks!

Lhoyt said...

Thanks, Kim, for the reminder. I find that so many times my thinking process is different from that of our fellow Americans that I get frustrated. And they get frustrated with me, some even get angry. It will be so wonderful when we "shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is." (I John 3:2)

The Bug said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job with adjusting - to me anyway. Wow - I would totally have fallen asleep waiting on the doctor's appointment! Hope he can help with the migraines...

rita said...

I think we missed that spontaneity in relationships when we came back to the US. God's serendipitous ways are awesome, if we can let go of our plans.
Thank you, Kim, for your example and for sharing with all of us. We need these reminders.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I'm not sure I could be as flexible as mission work would require.

I can not wrap my brain around a Dr. appointment at 8:30 pm!!!! You're so right about it not being right or wrong, just different!

Thanks for your unique perspective and giving us all something new to think about!

I'm off to mow the lawn, balance the check book,pay bills and then hit the wal mart...busy busy busy!

I do hope that the late evening visit to the DR. will provide some relief to both you and your husband. I suffer from the occasional migraine and they are defiantly no fun at all!