Sunday, October 28, 2007

In flight

In flight to Europe, and a preview of our future life.

We’ll be flying into Germany and catching a train to the first of several meetings in the coming two weeks. Christie and I will be meeting the staff of the Europe church, many for the first time, as well as introducing ourselves to the local church leaders of Germany and the Netherlands. Amid all this, too, there will be many discussions and reports on the state of the church in Europe, challenges and possibilities, hopes and warnings, that sort of stuff.

Particularly important, though, of course, will be the personal impression I make and the tenor of the new relationships that is sounded in these first few meetings. And that worries me a bit. You see, there have already been some misunderstandings, some cross-cultural blunders, that might have started a “reputation” for me in Europe. Plus the obvious challenges that my age, inexperience and nationality will present. It may be with just a few, or even just one, but I’m still anxious about making a good impression – flexible but confident, generous and eager to laugh, encouraging and hopeful. And, as if the way with irony, it is often when we are most anxious about first impressions that we rarely make entirely good ones. Que sera sera. Щто делать?

All the while, I’ll be trying to take a mental inventory of my job duties, personality traits and giftedness of my staff and co-workers, furniture available to us when we move to Europe, and small signs of hope and happiness. As I am now, I’m still feeling several weeks of tension and anxious anticipation regarding this trip and its manifold repercussions. I want to feel better about going to Europe – and am hoping that this trip (actually seeing the places and faces) will help me.

At the same time, I have to remember that this work isn’t entirely about me. I’m here to serve a community of people dedicated to giving themselves over to the transforming Spirit of God – to be transformed themselves and to accordingly transform their world. And really, that’s not up to me. I serve the Work. To do the work, but I don’t do the Work. (I keep reminding myself of this in hopes of relieving some of my anxiety and foreboding sense of tremendous responsibility.)

Wish me luck, dear readers. I am stepping into an unstable boat in uncertain waters, and I am far away from finding my sea legs.

I want to be heading toward something, rather than in flight away.

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