the thread around my finger, part 1

by Sandra

I’m back from Turkey, finally, our plane touching down at LAX yesterday afternoon.  My body is now telling me that it’s 9:30 in the morning.  I couldn’t post at all while in Turkey, since all of WordPress is blocked there.  I could have established a Blogger blog like I’ve done in the past with international trips, but I purposely wanted to keep my nose out of my computer while I was there as much as possible.  So gradually, I will be posting photos and memories of my time there.  There is a lot to tell about Eastern Turkey, the land of Abraham and Jacob and the landing of the Ark.  There’s a wall built around the old city of Diyarbakir that is over 5000 years old!  5000!  Americans think that things need to be torn down after 100 years.

Of course there are also lessons that have been learned that I don’t want to unlearn in the re-entry into L.A. life.  So these next several posts are my way of actively reminding myself of what I want to take away from the experience.  Today’s lesson:

Turks are patient people.  Even though there are over a million people in Diyarbakir, there’s not a sense of needing to rush through the day.  Socializing is taken very seriously and men will gather outside the çay houses for hours and simply talk, as will women in their homes.  Social visits that would take fifteen minutes in America take hours in Turkey, that is just the expected way.  I’m not a very patient person, whether I’m sitting in traffic or waiting for things to happen in life.  All throughout this trip I was reminded that things take a long time.  I know I need to learn this lesson.  Not only do the days pass leisurely in Turkey, so does seeing any spiritual fruit.  Workers there find that it takes years before the Turks and Kurds of the region are open to receiving the gospel, so sometimes they feel like they’re treading water, forever waiting for a harvest that does not seem to come.  Only perseverance can see one through in times like that and the Christian workers that we met have learned this aspect of patience very well.  Still, several of them expressed frustrations in not immediately knowing the purpose God had in leading them to Eastern Turkey. I can equate it to graduate school.  I know God has opened the door for me to go, but I still struggle with knowing the purpose of being there.  What I learned in Turkey is that sometimes the purpose is not always given right away, but that does not mean I can give up doing the work.  In fact recently, we had a guest speaker in my playwriting class and he spoke about letting yourself be your age at whatever endeavor you’re undertaking.  For instance, I’ve been writing seriously for only three years now.  Therefore, I should let myself be the three-year-old writer that I am and not expect the level of success that a forty-year-old writer would find.  To hold myself up to that expectation is asking for disappointment.  So too with discipleship.  Scripture refers to those who trust in the Lord as being “oaks of righteousness,” and oaks don’t grow very fast.  So I don’t think God had Insta-Righteousness in mind when it came to designing humans.