It’s five o’clock on an August Sunday and I feel the weight of the world although I am safe and unharmed on my couch in the sunroom. The screen door is open and I hear the rustling leaves and light traffic on the main road. It’s quiet. It’s unhurried. I’ve just finished a book I bought on Friday and reach for my phone — a default transition habit. Scroll after scroll I am bombarded with the fears, pain, and unknowns of people I know and that I don’t know. I wonder if we as humans were ever designed to consume so much visual and written trauma in one setting (or sitting!) through one medium. As my current world is in relative equilibrium, I feel for those whose worlds are upside down and broken. Granted, I have my own traumas, suffering, and brokenness to navigate and heal from; but in the security of my home and with the freedom and ability within my power, I decide to do what I can to encourage and thank those in my sphere. Perhaps that is the purpose of this moment to brave fear and rage peace.
As I sit here in comfort and abundance I know that it is my calling in this moment to invest encouragement into others. We are all going through hard things. Our hearts feel dry. Our hearts are hurting. At this moment I am compelled to say “persevere!” I want to scream “how can I help?” At the same time I’m tempted to panic. And yet I look at what is within my reach and my ability – who can I encourage with a word, a smile, a handwritten note? I feel inadequate, but I move bravely and sometimes awkwardly to encourage. To encourage means “to inspire with courage” and so I share hope and my heart in love.
In this season my heart is awakened to those who anchor me. Who teach me. Who challenge me. Who invite me. Who invest in me. And I am deeply grateful. To build relationships is an extraordinarily brave act. To be vulnerable with a select trusted mentor who helps settle your soul is an extraordinary gift. I am grateful for those who entrust me with their prayer requests, their pain, their hurts. I pray. I am grateful for those who nudge me to reconnect with someone in my sphere who could use a kind word; those whose worlds are collapsing around them and need to know that I see it too. Be grateful for your people.
Am I listening to my soul? Am I encouraging others to listen to theirs? Our souls are crying for purpose and for stability. It is within my power to purposefully pause to grant my soul grace. For the unknowns, the mistakes, the judgments, the assumptions. It is within my power to grant other’s grace. For this is what I know: the world is suffering. There is heartache. Can we commit to grant more grace to each other? Perhaps that is our purpose when we don’t know what else is.
In the coming days, months, and even years, may we have the courage and commitment to welcome grace more – for both ourselves and for others. May we reach out more to connect intentionally. May we be extraordinarily brave as we wage raging peace on our souls, minds, and bodies.
In these days, may our fear not overwhelm our faith.
I pick up the book again and thumb through the pages. I stop at one of the sentences I’ve underlined. I’m grateful for Ann Voskamp’s words: “Fear is what we feel but brave is what we do.”
Go brave the fear. Each day.
Megan Norton, Intercultural Communication Trainer and Third Culture Kid Mentor at Intercultural Transitions
Megan Norton is an intercultural training trainer and researcher focusing on trends in transnational higher education and its influence on intercultural relations. As the daughter of a former U.S. diplomat, Megan identifies as a Global Nomad (and Adult Third Culture Kid); and with her extensive international experience, she has a global perspective and demonstrates cross-cultural sensitivity. She has lived in ten countries (South Africa, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Poland, USA), 5 US states (Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, Washington D.C.), and has visited over 30 countries. The thematic focus of both her two graduate degree coursework and professional experience has been Third Culture Kid research, intercultural communication, marketing, transnational education research, and intercultural relations. Her expertise as an intercultural trainer combined with her experience in international education has enabled her to design socio-emotional and educational programming tailored to globally mobile students/third culture kids. Megan is also the host and creator of the podcast “A Culture Story.”