Saturday, March 16, 2013

Not So Far Away

I had the privilege of flying back to the States for a week in January for the funeral of my grandpa. I had a journey of 6,900 miles and 24 hours to reach Colorado where I hopped into a car with my sister and drove for 550 miles and 8 hours to Montana. No, this isn't a math story problem, but I state these numbers because I believe most people think that to be a great distance and time commitment. I suppose it is.

But, after 12 years of traveling to many countries and waiting in many airports, I've gained a perspective that I think few have. The world is a very small place and getting anywhere by plane is really a relatively quick and reasonably priced venture. We've seen friends in 17 or so countries while living on a shoe string income by American standards. We're able to visit relatives in Tennessee and Montana on a fairly regular basis as well. It struck me starkly on the flight back to the States this time because the trip was put together so quickly. Isn't it absolutely amazing that it can take humanity a day and a half to travel around the world to see family?!

From friends and family alike, we still hear amazement and trepidation at the thought of spending time in foreign places. But the reality of the commonality of mankind on this planet has been pushed forward more and more strongly the more we travel. People treat each other much the same for many of the same reasons (depravity and common grace) here as they do in our home state of Colorado. Yes, there are cultural and religious nuances everywhere, but that's exactly what they are. Nuances.

Our lives are in some ways quite long, so spending 10 years or 10 hours living or traveling in a foreign culture doesn't seem like such a long time to me anymore. 

"Come now you who say 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. INSTEAD, you ought to say, 'If The Lord wills (inshallah) we will live and also do this or that.' But as it is, you boast on your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:13-17

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