Brrrr. I looked outside the ground floor window of my bedroom. It is c o l d. Bitingly c o l d. I have three layers on! And I am inside the house.
In winter, there is no snow in this part of the country. The snow is on the mountains, just beyond where my eyes could not see. Yet the cold breeze announces it’s not that far away. The trees are bare. Their leaves are also retreating from the cold. A cheerless landscape. Even more so in my heart.
It’s my first winter in Australia. I am cold. Lonely. Dejected.
“Why did I come? I could have gone back to the United States. Back to where I had friends. Back to vibrant California. Back to where my work was appreciated.”
From afar, the opportunities seem vast.
“Opportunities? Where are they?”
I stared at the neat stack of rejection letters on my desk. I read, filed and counted each one as they came over the past three months. I counted up to 50. Then I stopped counting.
“I wonder where this is leading me, Lord. What good will come out of this journey? I long to see what you have in store for me. I trust you. Your thoughts are higher than mine.”
On my first Sunday in Australia, I went to church. At the door, a big, tall man was waiting to greet everyone who came. My first impression of the man was his brown shoes, clean, worn, scuffed. Then my eyes travelled upwards as I shook his hand. I met friendly, smiling blue eyes. And a slightly crooked smile.
. . .
I made friends at church. People offered to help. Invited to homes, so I felt welcomed. Taken to events, so I experienced Australian life. Introduced to libraries, museums, convenience shops, fellowship groups. Given tips on job-hunting.
A new friend even reviewed my resume’ so he can give me feedback. That was when my eyes were opened. I was using words that were foreign to him, terms of qualifications that had to be explained even though they were already in English! The length, the details, the way I addressed the cover letter. So much to change. I discovered, possibly the most important factor, why I received those rejection letters!
Later, my friend bought me a set of books about Australia, Australians, and the Australian way of life, from the lens of humor. I learned to understand and appreciate Australian humor, the everyday lingo, the artefacts of culture.
I learned what is to be Australian.
My excellent grasp of English, now laden with cultural understanding, made for a powerful bridge towards people. Communication accelerated my belonging.
“Hello. Yes, this is Joyce. Yes, of course, I can. Yes, that time is convenient. Thank you for inviting me for an interview. I will be there.”
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Six months later.
I am enjoying my new job and I married that handsome, gentle, God-loving, blond, blue-eyed man who greeted me on my first day at church.
Even during those difficult days, staring at ‘the mountain’ of rejection letters, God was sowing seeds of blessing in my life. A growing sense of belonging in my new home. New friends. And, among them, my best friend.
Are you staring at a ‘mountain’ today? What are you learning about yourself in this process? Who helps you?
On whom do you anchor your hope?