“One of the keys to learning how to thrive in a cross cultural setting is,” our instructor explained, “is to learn how to live in paradox.”
“It is very easy,” he went on, “to live with an “either/or” mentality, instead of learning to live in the tension of “both/and.”
Life away from home is a collection of both/and’s. Life here is polluted with longing, suffering, tears, and grief. Undiluted joy is coming but it is not here yet.
Living far from home – either figuratively or literally – we live in the Father’s love more fully when we embrace paradox.
The same circumstances (a father’s military deployment, a family’s temporary displacement because of COVID, a scary health diagnosis) has both joy and sorrow, highs and lows, beautiful gifts and excruciating gifts…. Sometimes they are beautifully hard in the same breath, a severe mercy.
Our Father pays attention to both. It honors him when we face our life honestly & recognize that in his love there is space for mystery & for the things we don’t understand.
So we want to be both people that celebrate AND lament. People who give thanks AND feel safe with our Father to voice our complaints, questions and doubts. Not just one or the other but both.
We want our kids to be safe enough with us that they can voice both the good and the hard. So we talk together about what makes us glad & also what makes us mad. His Word guiding & steadying us. Knowing He is our refuge and yet not denying the storm:
“Breath by breath, I’m learning what You say
When You told me I could trust
Even when the storm is raging on
And song by song, I will sing of your great love
While You’re singing it back to me
With the very voice that calmed the sea
So let the thunder roll
And I won’t be afraid, ’cause You roll the thunder
And let the rain beat hard
Upon my roof, and I’ll dance to it’s rhythm
And let the mighty wind
Blow between the oak trees
As I let You steady me
‘Cause You’re right here in the whisper
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”