“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?”
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
I began my first and second ‘rough copies’ for this blog basically saying that I’m scared out of my wits about going to Asia. Now that I’ve moved into the third attempt at expressing this satisfactorily, that’s still true, but I thought I’d be creative and find a Bible verse about fear: that verse above happened to be the second one in my concordance. Interestingly enough, the only way I’ve been able to describe the reason for my fear of these coming two months is to say that, from my limited perspective, I feel like I am deliberately walking—or rather, flying—myself into a dark void chalk full of black shadows.
Even though I’ve gone to all the classes in the intensive courses, meant to prepare us all for meeting this major paradigm shift, and I’ve talked to so many experienced travellers I can hardly keep track of all their advice, I cannot make Southeast Asia a reality. I know, that sounds ridiculous, right? After all, the existence of whole continents and billions of people is hardly up for debate. But, in all sincerity, I cannot in the least fathom what two months in Southeast Asia might be like. I’m stuck in ‘smalltown New Brunswick’ mode and can’t escape the difficulties of imagining such possibilities as any one single city containing a quarter of a million people without exploding! (Fredericton is big enough for me!) And so, as I try to convert all that I’m learning of Asian cultures into actual, physical reality, to picture it as really and truly existing and being lived, I find the people and the places mischieviously morphing into Canadians and Canada and the strong conviction that these things could never be done (especially since I’ve certainly never seen it) has suddenly popped into the middle of things just to stir up trouble!
And there! I’ve revealed my egocentric world-revolves-around-North-America worldview! I can’t help it. Thus Asia or Southeast Asia or Thailand, Malaysia or the Philippines remain vague proper nouns, associated with black holes and shadowy shadows. And I’m terrified. Fortunately though, just now I was reminded that the Lord is my light. Whom/What shall I fear? Well, to be honest, probably just about everything! But somehow, I’m at peace with being afraid and I’m going to Southeast Asia no matter how badly my ‘cultural blinders’ distort reality and maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll shed them as I go.