Sunday, August 21, 2005

Reconciling new with old

Life in Kobe is good. I really can't complain. I just got paid for a month of work in which I did nothing, I'm living in a city that is home to numerous international restaurants (like Italian and Indian), I found a church that has practically yanked me in to their congregation in no more than two Sundays, and I live in an apartment complex filled with 35 gaijin ALTs. Not bad, eh?
So why, then, do I so frequently feel such an ache to be in Ontario? I've been well aware of it for quite a long time now, but this past week really brought this to the forefront in my thoughts: God has given me a phenomenal group of friends back home. I've been spoiled by the number and the depth of friendships that I've been able to experience in my life. Life is different here with people. It seems reminiscent to first year of Redeemer when anyone who was anyone was talking about which party they were going to on the weekend or who puked where in the dorm (or in who's shoes and backpack). These folks don't just go out for a drink at a pub, they don't just go to someone's place for a few drinks, they drink to get smashed. And they do, less than an hour after they arrive. I know that I've lived a pretty sheltered and tame life, so I probably sound a little naive. But seriously-- I wish that there were some here who knew how to drink with class. I got a little tired last night being tripped over by numerous folks who spent the whole night loudly insisting that they weren't drunk. I love going out for drinks with friends back home, playing euchre or whathaveyou at the Judge. I wish there were more here that felt the same way. Anyhow, all that to say that I have fantastic friends back home.
Yet, there are prospects of good friends here, too. The church that I attended this morning for the second time this month, Shinkou Reformed Church, is pastored by a man that Dr Goheen taught at Calvin Sem. The service is entirely in Japanese but they sing hymns to the same tunes as those that we sing at First. They've asked a retired Professor of English from Kobe University (who is a member of the church) to translate parts of the service for me-- though all he did was tell me when we were saying the apostle's creed, the ten commandments and the Lord's prayer. Everything else was left up to me to decipher. He's a very friendly man, Sho Kina-san, and he has very beautiful grandchildren. The majority of the congregation speaks english very well, and they are all very eager to have a chance to speak with me. They eat lunch together every sunday but it takes me such a long time to eat because I have to answer so many questions from so many people. There are several young people at the church, though I have absolutely NO idea how old they are. Japanese people, I am figuring out very quickly, seem to age very slowly. One girl asked me how old I thought her brother was, and I was about to say 19 when she told me that he was 29. No kidding. Anyhow, they're also very welcoming and do their best to welcome me.
I've had so many blessings in my life that it's hard to leave the ones that I've already received. I know perfectly well that God will bless me here as he did in Hamilton, because he did the same thing when I was in BC and in England. I just find it ever so difficult to "miss out" (so to speak) on the events back home. I want to be there for my nephew's baptism, and I don't want to miss the first four months of the next baby's life. I also don't want to take my time here for granted and miss out on realizing the blessings that God is providing. It's a fine line, as far as I can see.

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