God does not send us into the dangerous and exacting life of faith because we are qualified; He chooses in order to qualify us for what he wants us to be or do." Eugene Peterson
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After I get all of the mutating missionary blogs from the past re-posted here, I will continue writing fresh ones. Enjoy the review...
Robyn Rochelle Cox
Loving God in the Moment
Sunday, May 21, 2006PLUGGED IN
I’m dealing with another desire to ‘media’ myself to death.
What I mean by that is that I want to cave in and go to my ‘cave announcing to myself that I need cave time, but not really getting cave time, but ‘plugging in’ and getting media overload!
Internet is a great thing, DVDs are to be celebrated, but when they become your friends they are to be avoided. When I would rather watch a movie than walk to the nearest café because I will have to interact with a culture I don’t know or feel comfortable in, I must rethink my media temptation.
When I would rather read BLOGS of people that I don’t even know, than write my own, my creativity is being jeopardized.
Loneliness is tough. But I wonder if the purpose of loneliness is to drive us into community. When we fill our time with movies, radio, music, or simply come home from work and ‘PLUG IN’ we forfeit real life relationships. On the internet we can BLOG but can we catch the quiver in the voice? The tiny wisp of a tear? The hunger in an eye? Or even receive the much craved hug?
One of the first sentences I am learning here in Germany is, “Ich brauche eine Umarmung.” .A child in Grade 3 taught me this sentence. It is not said often in Germany, but my friends here are hearing it often from me.
Friday catapulted me into a ‘PLUGGED IN’ evening. Going to the local grocery store I put my bravado together – you know this face – you have probably used it upon going in for a job interview, entering the first day of class, or going to a new church or group of some kind. I must use this it anytime I step out of my door. It is the face that faces the unknown. Every time I leave my house (unless I am headed into the office) I must put this ‘bravado’ on!
I call it – OK God, it’s You and me!
Well, this past Friday I went into the grocery store with a bit more confidence than usual. Pulling into the parking lot with Carol King’s Tapestry humming from the CD player, feeling the incredible evening air and pretty much thinkin’ – ‘I’m doing pretty good.’ The day had been comfortable. I’d been to the office. I’d spent the day living and breathing ‘America’ within those safe walls.
I had successfully set up an appointment with a German for assembling some shrunks (closets) from IKEA, by PHONE, unable to see his frustration with my limited German; I came away only a tiny bit scathed.
So all in all, it had been a great day. Entering the parking lot, as I said, with ‘I feel the earth move under my feet’ playing and pretty much feeling like the 15 year old memorizing the lyrics for the first time – I was feeling life ‘plugged in.’
I confidently took my euro from its holding place in my car
Check! Yes, euro needed for shopping cart!
Cultural experience #1 mastered!
Check! Yes, shopping bag in the trunk – ready and waiting!
Cultural experience #2 mastered!
Check! Milk, crackers, soap, laundry detergent, weighing and pricing the veggies, knowing what words mean when I look at the jars of jelly, packages of cheese. Even the cleaning items weren’t so scary.
I approached the meat counter, hackfleisch – hummmmmmm would I really want more chili or should I go for broke and get rind hackfleisch and make a burger for the evening?
And then I saw it. A seasoned ‘Texas Steak.’ Now, I wasn’t as naive as I had been 3 months ago. I read the small lettering underneath ‘schinkensteake’ which let me know that no matter what the seasoning might be on this ’Texas Steak’ the meat was from a pig and pigs cannot be camouflaged as ‘sweet Texas beef’ after the palate gets hold of it. I digress…
I ordered the Texas Steak knowing what I was getting. The butcher didn’t even blink giving it to me and saying something about the meat and to have a great day. Ah! Sweet success – she had not discovered I KNOW nothing! I smiled and wished her a ‘Gute Abend’ pushing my cart to the register. Placing everything on the conveyor belt I got the bill, paid it with confidence, bagged my groceries into my own sack…
Check! Yes, it all fits in one sack (meaning I had not waited too long to go to
the store this time :-))
Cultural experience #3 mastered!
Heading for the bread counter, I looked down. The meat! It sat there in the corner of the cart! It sat there and I had not paid for it.
Turning around I saw the lines of people at the cash register, Friday after work, people preparing for 3 days of groceries instead of 2 – I couldn’t leave without paying. So, I walked back “Enschuldigung, I didn’t pay for my meat.”
Then it happened…
The blank look I have come so to recognize
She doesn’t speak English. My heart sank. After much scrambling an English speaker was dragged out of the back holding a carton of Pringles, imagine that! He translated, the woman disagreed, the crowds stared, escape was considered – but finally it was tackled and I left – shaken.
All the way home I beat myself up over just 7 words. “I need to pay for my meat.” Put in a tough situation I had frozen, I couldn’t even remember the word for meat, much less for pay. In fact, NOTHING had come up from my gray matter except “Enschuldigung!” over and over again.
I spent Friday night ‘PLUGGED IN’ - NO German, NO going out, NO walking.
Saturday morning I ‘PLUGGED IN’ again. I unpacked boxes, and listened to music. AMERICAN music!
Finally, I got a bit hungry and went downstairs for a cup of soup ‘PLUGGED IN’ with my nano. My Chinese friend had to tap me on the shoulder to get my order. A German shopkeeper I am getting acquainted with came over to sit with me, but I was ‘PLUGGED IN’ and she didn’t disturb me – and I was glad – I was soooo tired of German! Not Germans, but German!
Eating, listening to David Grey ‘White Ladder’ writing and waiting for my soup I wrote in my journal OH GOD, I NEED a hug!
Ich brauche eine Umarmung. I wrote it in English and in German.
I returned home to a note hanging on my mail box. “Robyn, I brought Kaffee and schokolade kuchen. I will be back, went for a walk 14:20. (signed -- one of my German friends)
I cried! Isn’t God good? Isn’t flesh and blood, heart and soul relationship better than any internet, radio, TV, movie, or even Carol King or David Grey?
Later that day my friend downloaded lots of stuff needing lots of prayer – when she left I said “Ich brauche eine Umarmung.”
She needed one too.
? I don't ever want to be too 'PLUGGED IN!'
Posted by Robyn Rochelle E. at Sunday, May 21, 2006
A little about me
I am in the world almost every day. Okay, daily.