Up @ Night #7 – Expectations

by MW Cook

How long have I been here? How long have I waited to get here? Suddenly I remember the lost, familiar feeling I had in Pakistan.

It’s not that this place is actually like Pakistan. It’s not, really. Even the people are different, if you look closely. In my area of Pakistan there was a homogeneous feel. Most people were Sindhi. Some were tribal or Punjabi. That was about it. Here there is a metropolitan of South Asian people groups. Not just Pakistani and Afghani and Persian. But deeper cultural differences. Pashto, Gujrati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajir, Dari. The cultural climate is different. TPK is not Pakistan.
So it’s not a similarity of people or landscape that makes me feel the same way. It’s, I think, a familiarity of expectation.

You know what it’s like achieving something you’ve been pressing after, right? You’re sure that everything will turn upside down once you get it.

But things don’t really turn over as much as you’d think they should. I’m still me. I still wake up in the morning with a horrible taste in my mouth. What has changed? Not much.

TPK isn’t really the holy grail of life. It’s a place. A neat place, yes. One of the most interesting places I’ve ever been to. But it’s only a place. I think I was expecting TPK to change me in some way that another area could not.

But places don’t change us. Or, they rarely do. People change us. Ideas change us. But places don’t. I seek for a radical change in my life that will, in turn, elicit a radical change in the lives of whatever community I’m living in. But the radical change in my own life must first come from either myself or something higher than myself.

I was up at night troubled with the expectations I have in this new place. Expectations about what I can do here. About what can happen here. About what I ought to feel and accomplish here. And so I forget that this is just a place. A place filled with beautiful people who are hurt and broken.

So I let go of expectations. I live the way I preach: not as a missionary or a man with a project, but as a simple lover of Jesus who loves his neighbors. Boo ya.

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