Monday, March 4, 2013

Bad Stuff, Take 5: Avoiding People, Not Accepting Help, and the USA not being my favorite...

Okay, Okay...I am going to finish my "use everything, even your bad stuff" once and for all...yes, you might have to go back and skim and scan the initial list again to see what was actually on it...and, yes, I already have more "bad stuff" I can use now because life goes on every day, and at least once a week I do something pretty bad that I either have to use or try to ignore only to use later.  But, here it goes...

I avoid people sometimes...
Have you ever been there?  The doorbell rings and you're in your sweats and in great need of a shower, so you do the army crawl from the living room into the kitchen and barely breathe because the person on the porch might hear you...then, you tiptoe over to a window and barely open one slat of the blinds while you stay glued to the wall beside the window.  Usually, I am just wanting to be unbothered, but sometimes...I am trying to avoid the Schwann's guy.  My poor kids have started following my lead; they freak out when someone knocks at the door or rings the doorbell.  I'm beginning to think we need a butler, someone to say, "Mrs. Schooley will meet you in the parlor in 20 minutes."  If only I had a parlor...
I also avoid people who talk a lot.  I don't really like long conversations about the same topic over and over and over.  I have to be honest and say that there are a few people I know, maybe 3, who I usually change my walking path to avoid.  You know what I mean?  I see this talkative person and immediately avoid eye contact...then, I change the angle of my walking path.  I cross the parking lot instead of staying on the sidewalk.  For all I know, these people want to avoid me too because they never call out to me once I've taken the detour to avoid them.  They probably think I don't engage enough in their captivating storytelling, maybe because I don't.  I avoid people who talk about themselves too much and never want to know about anything in my life; I can take it every once in a while, especially from really interesting people...but, usually the people who think they are interesting aren't to me.
Mainly, I avoid some people because I get bored easily or because it has been 20 years since I've seen them and I don't think they'll remember me.  I have been working on the latter though; if I see someone I "used to know," I go up and talk to them now.  I think I love it so much because they seem genuinely surprised that I would talk to them or approach them.  I enjoy it, I guess, mainly because my husband dares me to do it.

I do not let other people help me even though I am often spread thin helping others...
I HATE to put people out.  I am used to being the caretaker of others, and it is so difficult to accept help even when I need it.  I pretty much expect people to let me serve them, take care of them, and enjoy my smile as I do it...but, turn that back around on me...I cringe when someone serves me.  I had to learn the hard way that when I don't allow others to serve or help me what I'm really doing is robbing them of a blessing.  My second trip to Romania with a group called "Hearts of Faith" started off really well; I took Belle who was 7 at the time with me.  Belle slept a lot in the van as we traveled from Gypsy villiage to Gypsy village, and I thought she might not be adapting to the jet lag because she was so young.  Belle spent the night with my friend Beny's little sister, Oana, one night, maybe day 7 of the 10 day trip; at lunchtime the next day, Beny's mom, Dana, called Beny and told him to tell me that she thought Belle had the "chicken mumps."  She had a slight fever and a rash covering a lot of her body.  I told Beny to tell his mom that Belle had been vaccinated for chicken pox and the mumps (I wasn't sure which one she thought Belle had).  My mind immediately thought, "what unknown illness had my 7 year old daughter contracted in the middle of Romania in a Gypsy village."  
Well, my friend, Laura, who is also a Romanian took a look at Belle and said that it was indeed Chicken Pox; I tried to argue again about vaccinations to no avail.  Here is the situation...God took me all the way around the world to a country where I didn't know the language in order to get me to a place in my life where I could reach a place of helplessness.  Strangely, I really had not been there before...helpless.  I usually could always help myself or "figure it out."  I truly was HELPLESS to fix this situation, and I HAD to turn to others just to survive. 
The team was leaving Romania in two days, and Belle and I really couldn't leave or we'd end up quarantined in France the minute they took a look at Belle trying to get on the plane.  Belle looked really sick, sores from head to toe, literally. (Later, when we got back and showed our pediatrician the photographs of Belle, he said that hers was one of the worst cases of Chicken Pox he'd ever seen.  So, either the vaccination didn't work, or Belle might have met a worse fate from Chicken Pox had she not had the vaccination before contracting the disease.)  I didn't bring extra money, at least not enough to live on until Belle recuperated; I think I had the equivalent of $20.  There was also the language barrier and the need for me to have a doctor's notarized letter saying that Belle couldn't travel so that we could get new airline tickets issued at a later date.  We needed a place to stay.  We needed food.  We needed medicine.  I was helpless.  
I would've freaked out if I had not been in prayer practically the whole time, and Romanians and fellow Americans came to mine and Belle's rescue.  Gordon, an American from Tennessee, handed me $300 and told me to just pay him back after I got home.  Beny's father, Pastor Tica, took a little money to buy a box of chocolates for a doctor friend who gave us a letter of documentation for our travel home.  Another Romanian I didn't really know yet, Ana, and her family took Belle and I into their home, fed us, gave us a place to stay...Laura brought medicine and ointment for Belle; she had access to it because her sister was a nurse.  I was helpless, yet I was at complete peace almost all the time.  I knew God was showing me something; I could see the joy in other's faces when I let them help and take care of me.  I realized that I was wrong for not accepting help and acting like I was okay all the time. 
Today, Ana is one of my very best friends.  She has seen me through a lot, and she is always there for me even though she lives in Romania or Spain and I live in the USA...we are just an email away from each other.  She has been one of the few people on this earth who've seen me at my worst and loved me anyway.  Beny's family, the Podea's, are the dearest family in the universe; I have no doubt that if I showed up on their doorstep that they wouldn't hesitate to take me in.  I love them as my own family.  Laura is married now and living in the USA in Tennessee near Gordon...I will always remember their generosity and grace.  I still struggle sometimes letting people help me, but I definitely learned that God will go to great lengths to get my attention even if it means taking me across the world so that I cannot do anything but trust Him.  

The United States of America is not my favorite country... do I write this one?  I am thankful for my country, The United States of America, and am grateful for the freedoms I have because of the privilege to be born here.   The USA is like meat and veggies.  Meat and veggies are not my favorite food, but it is what is good for me.  
I have visited a few other countries, not very many in relation to how many countries there are in the world.  The other countries I've visited could be like the desserts in my life; they are so good but not necessarily good for me all the time.  I know I was placed in the historical time, place of birth, etc. that I was meant to be, so even though the USA may not be my favorite is where I am supposed to dwell.
I have spent time in Romania, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Spain.  I have spent one night in Italy, Czeck Republic, and Hungary.  I have spent excursion time from a cruise ship in Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, and The Cayman Islands.  I have spent time, very a day trip, in Switzerland, Austria, and England.  I have spent 14 hours in the Paris, France airport.  I have never been to South America, Antarctica, Asia, Africa, or Australia.  The world is BIG.  
My favorite country in all the world that I've been to thus far is Germany.  Germany has scars.  I've been to "Checkpoint Charlie" and part of the "Berlin Wall."  I have been to the beautiful Black Forest (Schwartzwald) and to a countryside that was beyond using words to describe it's beauty.  What I love about the essence of Germany (Deutschland) is that they don't try to cover up their past; you can visit Dachau, a concentration camp from WW2 or other places in Germany that the Germans would probably not like to be associated with. Germany is honest about the past, and her scars have can still see them, but the wounds have closed.  The emotional wreck of Germany's past is beautiful, and the physical beauty of the country is breath-taking.  Would I like to live there...sure I would.  I would like to live everywhere.  I wish I could live a whole lifetime in each part of God's world...see it all, experience it all...etc.   
Learn to live in the beauty of your scars!  Another way to say that is..."Use everything, even your bad stuff."
This is Belle and Oana in the Romanian Gypsy village one day before the "Chicken Mumps" surfaced!


  1. HA! I'm an SO YOU on that first one. . .you have no idea. . well I guess you do :)

    Also, love love love Germany. Went there for the first time at 14 and it stole my heart. Was so privileged to meet J there and get to live there for 2 years. My heart yearns to go back someday!

  2. Eric was born there, so I have been trying to convince him for years that we need to go! I get just a tiny taste because the numerous flights I took to Romania often went through Frankfurt, so I would sit in the airport and dare myself to go outside through the doors...never enough time though. Maybe, we can plan a trip together the year you and Eric turn 50??? Something to think about.

  3. i think you were in Sarata. We live in Washington and have friends in Sarata. You are absolutely true.....Pastor Tica and his family are truly great.

    Romanian care is really great.

    I hope you can return.

    1. I was in Sarata!!! I was in a few other villiages in Romania too. I hope I will return to Romania sometime as well; I love the pace of life there. I also love the people I have met in Romania. Pastor Tica is a good man, and he and Dana have raised 5 great children. I love them very much. I wonder if you are Romanian? Beniamin, Tica's son, told me that he has relatives living in Washington and that quiet a lot of Romanians live in Washington, maybe in Seattle. Thank you "anonymous" for reading and commenting on this blog post.

    2. Kari,

      No, I am not Romanian. We have been "visiting" Romania for since 1992.
      We have an apartment in Beclean....less than an hour from Sarata.
      God bless you and I pray for you to have many more trips to enjoy in this wonderful place.

      Hope to meet you there soon.
      Kristen Miller