When Life Throws Curveballs

Even a little one. Like being told by your company that you have to stay in a hotel near the airport the first night you arrive, and watching your plans of staying at your pastor's apartment, surrounded by places you're familiar with and people you love, go flying out the window.

Realising that your first night in the country to which you're dedicating the next season of your life won't be spent in the beautiful company of people you've missed for months. That you won't get to go to a restaurant nearby, a favourite haunt of days past, and smile happily through jet-lagged weariness. That instead, you'll be going to bed in a strange hotel room, waking up in the same, getting meals by yourself, and not getting to see some of these dear friends for another week.

Your realise this and get swept up, startlingly, in waves of anger and frustration and disappointment. As you watch all your planning from the last month be laid waste.

And you start formulating in your head the most curt, abrupt, teeming-with-hidden-resentment reply that you can think of to answer the email that brought you the above requirements.

And then your heart sinks, because you remember that you've just told them you were going to be staying with your pastor. They know now that you go to church. They know you're a Christian, in some way shape or form. And your response will be viewed in light of this.

And you swallow as all your ideas of bitter words and snarky responses melt into the floor.

You have to reply in a way that mirrors the character of the King you serve. You have to reply with love and grace and understanding. You have to choose words of kindness, when you want to choose words of hate.

And as you smother your pride, you begin to realise that you don't know the situations that have led to instructions like these being enforced. You don't know the hopes they've placed on people who have suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, not shown up. You don't know the effort to which they've gone to bring people to Japan, only to then have them not arrive when and where they're supposed to. You don't know the hours they've waited, anxiously, glancing at their watch, while time ticks by and someone is late, all because they thought they could manage themselves and the company let them, only to find that they've become lost in the maze that is Tokyo.

You don't know the hopes dashed, the stress caused, the anger directed towards employees because it was assigned as their responsibility to make sure these teachers arrived safely for training, and through no fault of their own, some of said teachers have now disappeared into thin air.

A hundred arguments spring to mind about how each of these isn't the case for me. A hundred reasons why I would be an exception, and they should realise it as such. But precedent creates practice, and why should they expect you to be different?

So you pick up your pen (or electronic device), and lovingly reply that you will work it out as they have asked.

Choose the hills that are worth dying on.


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