Posted in Spirituality

The Gift of 30 Years

These past 30 years, they have been a gift. I know, life in and of itself is a gift. But these past 30 years? For all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t have been around to see them.

On 11 September 1989, I came so close to losing my life. It happened on a country road in Nigeria. We were travelling in a minibus very similar to the one in the photo. One of its tires burst, we came off the road and the car overturned.

From that point on, it was miracle after miracle. I was able to get to a hospital in the city, then back to Germany. I was able to get the treatment I needed to ensure I did not die of my injuries, and I even made a full recovery. None of that I take for granted. As the doctor said when I arrived at the hospital in my home town:”Someone must have been watching over you!”. Indeed.

What does one do with the gift of life, given a second time? Initially, everything was fresh and new and special, and oh so precious. It was a watershed moment, life was divided in before and after. That is good. It is good to be conscious that I don’t know how long I have, that none of us know how long we have. With time, normality took over again. Life flowed and built around the event. It will always be significant but is no longer defining. That is also good. Life is there to be lived. Not just in the dramatic moments but every bit as much in the humdrum of everyday life.

Yet as this anniversary comes around, it’s good to stop and reflect. It’s good to say

thank you for the gift of 30 years

(and hopefully many more).

There are many questions that remain unanswered. Why did the accident happen at all? I don’t know. Why did I live when Mark, who was also in the car, did not? I have no answer. I have no answer yet the words that were an immense source of strength and comfort for me in those first couple of days remain true:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38+39)

I finally left hospital on 9 November 1989. That very evening, the Berlin Wall fell. But that is a different story altogether.

 

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Started (book review)

Sometimes you know a book will be good just because of who the author is.

Sometimes you get to have a few sneak peaks along the way and wish the whole book was already available.

Sometimes you even get to be part of the process in a tiny way, by contributing thoughts to some of the issues covered, and you can’t wait to read what others said.

And then the book arrives and it’s every bit as good as you’d hoped and expected.

This is one of those books!

Amy Young does a great job of painting a well-rounded picture of many of the dynamics people typically experience in their first year of living cross-culturally. She unpacks these enough to go beyond the headlines, without getting bogged down in too much detail. Just the right balance!

 

Added bonus: Amy includes a lot of real-life stories – shorter and longer quotes by a wide range of people, describing the highs and lows, joys and challenges of their first year living cross-culturally.

 

All in all, this book is an amazing resource for anyone who is about to move cross-culturally, who is in their first year overseas or who knows someone in that situation. Highly recommend it!