I have had some interesting conversations over the last few days which have challenged me about the way I see others, what I assume when I look at people, and what do people think when they look at me. We can all look at the sky and we will all see something different, perceive it differently – a new hue, a shape that to me looks like a flower but to someone else looks like nothing at all.
I went to my physio today, a polite, a mild mannered Chinese man, who does acupuncture and helps me have control over my pain levels, with a huge wall length display of Buddha in his office. I have been going there for a while and I had ‘assumed’ that the Buddha display was part of his ‘religion’, what he identified with, that we wouldn’t have much in common. We were chatting as usual, and I was talking about my job and how I am looking to start working in a new field, and my role will be as part of a church – all of a sudden he became very animated – talking about the Australian Chinese Christian Church he had been involved in founding 20 years ago, how he had preached the last 4 Sundays out of 5. We talked about our churches, the sadness we both felt for aging churches that seem to be disappearing, our passion for children and youth ministry, how we had both studied at Tabor and what we had got out of it. I felt some shame that upon meeting him, seeing the full length Buddha in his office and his use of acupuncture I had put him in a ‘religious’ cultural box based on my assumptions from movies, my limited knowledge of someone else life, and it wasn’t the first time this had happened this week.
Earlier in the week I was talking to a woman from India I have been getting to know – she has been in Australia nearly 10 years, came from India all alone, knowing no-one, studied here and now works in a field she enjoys. She is single and has a busy fulfilling life. I once again ‘assumed’ that she would have a large community of friends that have a similar cultural background to her, the ‘Indian Community’ events she called them. Because if I went to a foreign country alone; I would think that I would find security and comfort with people who have a similar background to me. But when we talked about it she told me that all her friends she has met through, work, study, etc. She explained to me she came to this country as she wanted to embrace the lifestyle here – she is in her 30’s, single, working and doesn’t have to explain to anyone why she has chosen to live this way – she loves the freedom to make her own choices. Once again my assumptions about her life were wrong- then she explained to me how she has been here nearly 10 years and not been involved in her ‘community’ from her homeland as she feels they will see her as a failure and not understand why she is unmarried and hasn’t had children – but I was left wondering if she would feel that rejection or if that was just her ‘assumption’.
In the past few months I have had people who I meet saying to me when they are in crisis “Skye you won’t understand” – they look at me married happily, in my large house, driving my pretty car, managing my children, my job, my study. But this is what they assume about me – they don’t know my health issues, my struggles to manage, to juggle, to do what I need to. They don’t see my history – dysfunctional, damaged, surviving. Which brings me to the people who have known me a long time that I bump into who assume my life is messy, that I don’t manage or function well as they still see the me where I came from.
We can not assume anything about anyone regardless of where they come from, their sexuality, their religious affiliations, their socioeconomic status, ability or disability. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are all different, with different feelings, thoughts, experiences, functional abilities and aspirations. We need to embrace the differences, enjoy the uniqueness and not assume we know the journey another has walked.
Blessings Skye X
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