Friday, October 15, 2010

Dealing with uncertainty

"Dream as if you'll live forever, Live as if you'll die tomorrow." ~James Dean

This is the quote on Sing's blog right now. Well it's been there for a while. I'm not even sure if I'm quoting it right or not. It just came to mind a few minutes ago.

Suddenly it has a lot of meaning for me.

You see I'm living in a sea of uncertainty right now. I'm waiting for word if I will be able to get a new visa or not. I've been waiting for a week now. Let me tell you, it's very unsettling to not know what country you will be living in in the near future.

I've been having lot's of talks with God, and surprisingly enough, I think I will be OK no matter what the outcome is. If it's time for me to go back to America, I'll go, and do my best to go with a thankful heart. Heck, I have already been thinking of all the things I'll be able to do if I go back. (oh to be literate again!) I've left my future in God's hands, and I trust that He will be with me no matter the outcome. So that's not really the problem.

The problem is the not knowing. I can't do anything right now. I can't plan ahead. I can't prepare my heart. I can't pack or go on spending binges for things I'll only have access to for a short time because I don't know if it's true or not.

I actually get tired of this game, because it seems to happen a lot. I'm regularly faced with situations where I might be "sent home" for some reason or another (usually money.) The people around me are probably thinking I cry "wolf" a lot. Almost every time things work out the way I want them to. All from the Grace of God.

Again, I digress.

What struck me just now as I was pondering the uncertainty again was this: what is my reaction to uncertainty?

I'm ashamed to say, my reaction to uncertainty is always on the selfish side of things. When I'm faced with an uncertain situation, I immediately go into "hoarding" mode. I want to gather as many memories and "memorabilia" as possible, in case I can't go back again. So I've been spending this past week with thoughts like "I should do this while I have the chance." or "I can't waste this time, because I don't know how long I have." I have indeed become very thankful for my time in Japan (which is good, because it's easy to get buried under the daily complaints of life.)

So tonight I was thinking again of the many things I wanted, just in case, and I remembered the quote from Sing's page. As I thought about this, I wondered, is this really the right way? Granted, we really don't know what tomorrow holds. We really should live each day and value it for the treasure it is. I am terrible at this. But the way I've been going about it was to think about what I needed to get while I still had the time. I'm gathering treasures, or doing my best to.

But what did Jesus do when His time was limited. I remember studying the Last Supper a bit last year. That was Jesus' last night with his disciples. What did He do? Was he trying to get as much time with his favorite people as possible? Was He trying to make as many good memories as possible? Maybe, but that certainly wasn't His main objective. Instead He wanted to spend the time sharing as much as He could with his beloved disciples and friends before they would be separated. He spent His time giving.


Completely opposite of what I have been doing...

How would you spend your time if you knew you were going to die tomorrow? What would you do for your loved ones?

I have a little more time, but even if I get a visa next week, I'm aware now more than ever that my existence in Japan is always a fragile thing, and can change at any moment. This is the lot of a foreigner. Maybe I will live here for another year, or ten. Maybe I'll be on a plane in less than a month to see people who wish I hadn't been gone for 6 years.

But now I'm here. And tomorrow I have a choice. How will I spend my time here? Will I chase after empty things to "fill" my rather unreliable memory? Will I try to eat as much Japanese food as possible? Will I request all my favorite songs because I might not get to hear them again? Will I really be happy if I only think of myself?

God has been nice to me this week. Every time I feel like I could give up, He reminds me He is here with me. He loves me, and His timing is perfect. Like the disciples in the storm battered boat, there really is nothing to be afraid of. But when I panic, He wakes up and calms the storm for me. He has given me many wonderful reminders of His love this week. I'm grateful.

I hope this reminder stays with me, and my heart changes a little. Tomorrow it would be nice if I was thinking of what I can do for those who are important to me, instead of demanding things from them to satisfy my uncertainty.

Father, give me wisdom and love, and eyes to see.

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