It was in Tescos in Poole, that I discovered what reverse culture shock was, following six months working as a doctor in Nepal. After months away, I was suddenly confronted with a huge choice of food items to buy, and I couldn't quite cope! The moment has stayed with me and highlighted how I'd changed and wouldn't look at the world the same way again. Settling back wasn't as easy as I'd expected, despite all the good things I was returning to.
It's interesting to read articles suggesting that emerging from a pandemic may hit us a bit like that. As well as the joy of seeing family and friends again, we may find ourselves overwhelmed with choice, realising that none of us are quite the same, and working out, in the face of so many possibilities, what we want to do and how we want to be. So, how shall we navigate that?
A bit like a Nepali mountain road (above), I would suggest - carefully! But also, it will be good to draw on all we're learning from the SHAPE course - that we will all work things out differently, noticing each others' gifts and abilities and affirming them. As Paul the apostle puts it in his letter to the Thessalonian church:
'So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it (1 These 5:11 Msg).'
You can find the rest of the newsletter here: Newsletter 040321