When Does It Feel Real?

Gina Butz transition 2 Comments

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I live in America. I live in America. I live in America.

No matter how many times I think it, it doesn’t feel true. Granted, I’ve been on American soil just over 24 hours, but it doesn’t feel even remotely true. When will it?

I have moments when I realize that it is true, but mostly I have to remind myself. Like when I feel this need to buy everything we need in a mad rush like we usually do when we’re back for a visit. When I sign up for cell phone service, and not just the one month kind. When I see a clip on the Today Show about China and have to tell myself, “You don’t live there anymore.”

I suppose it will become more real when I pick out paint colors for our house. Certainly it will be more real when we move our furniture in there right? When we change our permanent address, when we buy plants for our yard, when we get a year long membership at the Y, when we hunt for a church, when we get Florida driver’s licenses.

Then will it be real?

What We Won’t Miss

Gina Butz Uncategorized 0 Comments

There were things we loved about being in China and things we didn’t love. I guess I had this feeling that as we left we would be clinging to all those things we loved (and we did – our friends being the primary thing) and forgetting all the difficult things. But then, right as we left, China decided to throw in a few doozies just to make us a little more willing to go. I’m not sure who to thank.

The first thing happened as we were leaving our house. We had just started off but had to run back because Erik had forgotten something. We double parked right at the mouth of where two roads converged, with the car running. After a few minutes we heard the unmistakeable crunch of metal against metal, and realized that a woman had tried to pass us on the left and scraped our front bumper.

She fared worse than us

She tried to insist that it was our fault that we were parked there, but I pointed out what seemed to be the obvious fact that I was IN the running car and she could have just asked me to move. Not ready to give up face, she insisted that we call the police and have them decide. Eventually we were able to convince her that the police didn’t need to get involved and that we could deal with it all ourselves. Ethan crying and my anxious, “We really need to leave” face might have helped matters speed along.

So we sped along directly into a traffic jam. Not just any traffic jam, mind you, but my favorite, favorite kind, caused by someone doing something illegal without considering the ramifications for other drivers. In this case, it was the classic, “I don’t want to wait in this long line. I’ll just go into opposing traffic and drive to the front” move, only he managed to front end a bus which was rear ended by a van which was rear ended by another bus. And then to make it even harder to navigate the police car who came chose to park in one of the two lanes on our side of the road. This meant that people turning left onto our road had to try to drive down the one lane that we could use. Brilliant.

The van that caused it all. Notice that he is on the other side of the double yellow lines and the silver car is on OUR side of the road

Finally, the police car realized his position and moved, and we were able to grab onto a little bit more time with those friends we love and will miss dearly. The other things, yeah not so much.

Vulnerability on Display

Gina Butz courage 0 Comments

How vulnerable are you?

One of the greatest lessons God began teaching me years ago and I’m sure will continue until I die is the power of vulnerability.

Not just transparency – I think many of us are good at that – but vulnerability. A friend once explained the difference as this, “Transparency is putting all your junk in a window display for others to see. Vulnerability is letting others go into the storeroom and pull things out to be on display.”

It’s a whole lot more frightening when you don’t have control over what is shown.

Brené Brown puts it this way (see full article here):

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

“The only choice we really have is how we’re going to respond to feeling vulnerable. And contrary to popular belief, our shields don’t protect us. They simply keep us from being seen, heard, and known.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past decade and experienced firsthand over the last year, it’s this: Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose. 

“Even if letting ourselves be seen and opening ourselves up to judgment or disappointment feels terrifying, the alternatives are worse: Choosing to feel nothing — numbing. Choosing to perfect, perform, and please our way out of vulnerability. Choosing rage, cruelty, or criticism. Choosing shame and blame. Like most of you reading this, I have some experience with all of these alternatives, and they all lead to same thing: disengagement and disconnection.

“One of my favorite quotes is from theologian Howard Thurman. He writes, “Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Vulnerability is not easy, but it’s the surest sign that we’ve come alive” -Brené Brown

How vulnerable are you willing to be?

 

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