Thursday, February 2, 2012

The First Six Months ~ An evolution

Happy Six Month Anniversary in Beijing!
disclaimer: this post is a bit deep and emotional. 
If you want something lighter, skip it and wait for the next post.

The evolution is occurring!
In so many ways it seems like it was yesterday that we arrived in Beijing. But when I sit back and assess, it really seems like it has been five years! How can that be?

I remember hearing "I turned a corner, you will too". 
I never, ever thought I would get to that corner. Heck, I wasn't even sure I was on the right street! But here I am and I can completely say that there are things about living here that I actually LIKE! I am even on the verge of loving certain things, which was completely unpredicted!

So how did I get from there to here? For me, my holiday trip back home was the beginning of my rock bottom.  From the moment I stepped off the plane in Chicago I could only think of how BEAUTIFUL America was and how UGLY China was. If you spoke to me on that trip you probably heard me say I hated (and I don't use that term lightly) it.  I probably told many stories that painted an awful picture (my apologies to the China Visitors Bureau). I am not proud to admit these things, and only do so in hopes that one soul out there will feel validated by my experience. I also was hanging on to a lot of resentment about moving here in the first place. That experience, back home, makes me worried about going back home for another visit. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful time! Probably too much of a wonderful time...

Needless to say, I was in a pretty dark place when I returned to Beijing just after New Years. It lasted about two weeks. Around that time I had the opportunity to see the movie "17 Miracles". It is so cliche to say it was life changing, but it was definitely perspective altering. I felt completely chastened about my attitude! How dare I complain, feel sorry for myself and be bitter? I have my family, my health, a roof over my head, food on the table, a regular pay check... and I am miserable because it is not pretty outside? When had I become a spoiled, self-pitiful, complainer who spreads it around like confetti at a party? 

It wasn't a conscious decision to begin noticing the perks and positive about living in here in Beijing. I definitely feel that this is one of those tender mercies from the Lord. He helped me begin to overlook the yucky, hard things and shined a light on the good things. Without making excuses for myself, I think my perspective was somewhat normal when plunked into a culture with so few similarities. How I manifested that perspective I take full responsibility for.

I mentioned I had been holding on to some resentment about moving here in the first place. Can I tell you...holding onto resentment (well, anything negative) is poisonous. I felt like I couldn't allow myself to enjoy any aspect of living here because I didn't want ANYONE to think that I had surrendered...surrendered to what? I was already living here! Was I really going to make our entire two years filled with me being bitter and putting a damper on every single experience? Yep, sadly,  I was kinda heading down that road. What a tragedy that would've been! What a miserable example to my children! The thing about negativity is that it is not compartmentalized. Before you know it, it is spilling over into other aspects of your life. I know it is because when we hold onto negative feelings we do not have the Holy Spirit with us. It began to affect my relationships with others, with my Heavenly Father and myself!

So here I am now. There are always going to be unpleasant, hard to understand, frustrating things about living here in China. But I have realized that time flies and, before you know it, our time here will be over. I realize that I need to embrace everything this experience has to offer and not take any of it for granted. So that is what I am doing and, darn it, it is pretty cool and fun!

Since you made it all the way through my melodramatic post I will reward you with this funny picture. It was posted in a make-shift bathroom outside of a restaurant I ate at.

Gotta LOVE China!


Jenny said...

Sometimes it is so hard to let go of negativity! But look on the bright side, you have the opportunity that few people have, of living in China! I am kind of jealous...
Modern Modest Beauty

Liz R. said...

love the end of the post! i'm glad that your perspective has changed. things are going to be great.

Unknown said...

yeah, it was totally worth it to read to the end with that picture. jen, good for you. way to push through to a good place. you are awesome.