It's easier to experience culture shock than most people realize. I certainly have gone through a bit of culture shock just coming from one Southern Ontario city to another.
I worked at an inner-city church all summer, working with youth, adults,
and young children. Some came to a food, clothing, and breakfast
program, others I met at a soccer camp, others I met through working
with the nearby school, breakfast program, after-school program, and day
camp that was running through the summer. There would be kids who would
come in with no food in their bellies, there would be kids who would
say things that no child should know how to say, and they would do
things that I can only assume they learned from someone else. And I
loved those children. My heart burst for them. They taught me how to
find joy in such little things, they taught me how important it is to
discipline a child with love, how much a child needs to, loves to,
desires to be told that they have a purpose in this life and that they
are so precious and valuable, for no other reason than that they are who
And now I'm studying for my Masters. I've come across people who angrily
said that Tim Horton's should know better than to not serve creamy soup
as a vegetarian option. I came across people who complained that there
are too many leather, comfy swivel chairs in a room - that is rather
spacious anyways. This isn't to say that I don't do the same thing too -
I've complained in my own time about stupid little things that I
shouldn't complain about. That I don't deserve to complain about.
But here's the thing: when you have everything in the world, then you
complain about every little thing when it's not there. We think we are
somehow "entitled" to things. And it's disgusting. It's plain
disgusting. All I can do is laugh at how very ignorant we are to the
pain, suffering, and struggles of the people living all around us.
The only thing that "entitles" me to anything at all is the fact that I
have money in my bank account, I have a nice diploma on my wall, and I
have a family that raised me in a beautiful neighbourhood in the suburbs
and afforded me all the necessities and non-necessities I could ask
for. Others are not so fortunate to have all of that. They will live
their lives without even being able to afford Tim Horton's or a Master's
program. They will struggle to feed themselves day-to-day, they will
struggle to clothe themselves. And they will - if you meet them - rarely
complain. They know that it's wrong, they know that they need what they
need, but there's a matter-of-factness to it.
I am disgusting for believing that anything I have is anything but a
privilege. I only hope that I can use it to serve others, to serve the
people that God loves in the same unfathomable way He's loved me. Help
me Lord to do so.