Thy Kingdom Come…

One family's journey crossing cultures in pursuit of the kingdom of God

Separation

Oil pastel by Grace

Me and Daddy Sometimes Apart – Oil pastel by Grace

2015-05-24 11.29.38

Me and Daddy Sometimes Apart – Oil pastel by Grace

The art may speak for itself but I will add a bit of context.

The travel required, mostly of Jon and very occasionally of me, has been one of the unexpected and quite challenging aspects of living and working cross-culturally.  I’m not talking about the scheduled home assignments when we uproot and travel together, but the frequent conferences, educational meetings, and government inspections that take Jon out of Addis or, most frequently, out of Ethiopia.  If you add to this the fact that Jon has still been expected to be at the hospital immediately prior to and upon return, often taking call the week before or after (yes, in a state of jet lag), this has resulted in 1-3 weeks per month of physical separation.  The remaining 1-3 weeks are characterized by exhaustion and emotional separation.

Some families seem to take it in stride.  Real? A facade? I’m not sure, but for us it has torn us apart and for Grace, especially, it has been one aspect of life here that has become unbearable.

This is something that is somewhat unique to the medical profession and yet other cross-cultural workers struggle with the same work-life balance.  As the art clearly communicates, it’s something we need to work on figuring out better.

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One thought on “Separation

  1. Neil Martin on said:

    Thank you for a truly honest post. Here’s my short personal history. Started out in primary care. Put in the long hours. Left in the morning before family was up, got home after 6 (usually 7). As you noted, even when home I wasn’t at 100% due to fatigue. Had a wife who loved me enough to point out this was not good. The half day off from the office during the week became consumed with paper-work, rounds, etc. All this led to a career shift (leaving the practice, going to scheduled clinic work). Within a month I saw a difference in my kids attitude towards me. They went from not expecting me to being around to actually enjoying having time together.
    That was 25 years ago. I had to relearn the lesson several times since then. Bottom line is time management is hard. Many people do it better than I do. For that reason I have had to consider the strengths and weaknesses God gave me and work within them to honor Him. Praying for your family that you will find the appropriate balance.

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