16 June, 2010

Mysterious missionary moves

Someone recently commented that we're handling this process of leaving Australia objectively and not so emotionally. In some respects that is how we cope with the emotions - by getting on with all the tasks (and they are myriad) associated with moving internationally. Not to say that we aren't sad, excited, worried, stressed and relieved - all at various times, but we don't wear those emotions on our sleeves. Maybe this could be seen as repressing emotions. But I guess we have the opinion that it is something we have to do regardless of the emotions we feel, so we might as well get on with it. Besides, being emotional all the time is quite stressful in itself.

I've commented before that watching missionaries change countries can been a disturbing thing. It is a process that makes them look mysterious in some way. As they gradually withdraw from life in their passport country, they do things that most Australians have never done - plan to be absent from the country for several years running. Even our solicitor finds this to be an unusual lifestyle to plan for.

Additionally the missionary's thoughts turn more and more to the place where they are going so they can seem somewhat 'absent' in the present. In some ways I imagine it might be a little like the process a Christian goes through who is dying slowly. Putting their affairs in order, saying goodbye and beginning to look forward to what lies ahead.

To the people being left behind it is mysterious for a few reasons - for starters they cannot imagine doing it themselves. Secondly the missionary is much too busy to communicate much at this time, so most of what goes on is unknown for the observer. Thirdly observers don't know much about what it is that it is motivating the missionary to want to go through the pain of transition. This time the third reason is even more marked for us because we are going back to a place we've pretty much lived in and worked at before. We have a much better idea of what we're headed to and therefore it is not such a terrifying transition.

I hope that by documenting this move (as I did the last one) on this blog it will help those who read it to understand just a little bit more. It also helps me not to suppress those emotions too much.

1 comment:

Tim and Susan said...

It is hard to process all the emotions in the midst of a busy move...I think I find that I "feel" it more about a month before the move and then our last few days as we are saying goodbye (which leaves me arriving exhausted)....we too have that mentality that you just got to do it...not too much choice in the matter.

I am reading "That's my son" now. I am always so challenged to read books on boys, parenting, etc. I definitely have so much to learns...