Often I serve as an educational consultant. Other times I develop curriculum to help teachers learn to move into a 1 Room Schoolhouse or to help kids adapt to missionary life.. A few times a year I train new missionaries in public speaking , conflict management, presentations, and transition–among other things. For a few weeks a year I get to help our TCKs debrief the last few years of their lives and prepare them for the next phase.
Grief is a common theme when talking with Third Culture Kids. We all deal with it on occasion, but for them it’s woven into the warp and woof of their personal tapestries. Many of them take things in stride that would send some of us running to pull the covers over our heads.
I teach some. I listen a lot. Sometimes I can leave it all in the office when I walk out the door. Other times what I hear creeps into my heart and travels home with me.
When I first moved into this position there were days when it was overwhelming. There are still a few days when I feel like I’ve been hit by an emotional tsunami. I’m thankful those days are less frequent. I’m even more grateful that I’ve learned to navigate my way through the treacherous waters when they hit.
I’ve learned I need to talk. I know I can’t talk to just anyone. Thankfully I have a small group of friends it’s appropriate and safe to vent to. I need to journal. I need to pray—the ultimate safe place to unload my day and my thoughts. Often that’s enough for me to let go of what I’m carrying around so I can sleep.
I’ve found I need more than sleep sometimes. I need other ways to relax and let my mind be diverted. Spending time with friends who make me laugh is my favorite way to find that diversion. Sadly, they’re not always available . . . and sometimes I’m peopled out. In that case, I have three go-to’s—books, TV/movies, and scrapbooking.
I love getting lost in a beautifully written story. If I choose my author well, I know the resolution will be good and right even if it’s not happy. TV and movies are good because even if they focus on an ugly problem, resolution happens before I go to bed. It’s a nice counterbalance to my day. Working on a layout for my scrapbook allows my mind to solve a very different problem successfully and see something beautiful and meaningful appear.
Emotional rest is a necessity and a process just like physical rest. Because I can turn over the hurts, disappointments and grief that come home with me sometimes, because I can find lightness and laughter and other places, because I can create, I can recharge. Emotional rest allows me to go back another day and love people for and because of Jesus.
How do you find emotional rest?
photo courtesy of Miguel Saavedra
Today I’ve joined the Faith Barista’s Faith Jam. Every week Bonnie’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith and life related topic. This is my riff on “How I Experience Emotional Rest.” I’d love to read your thoughts on the topic. Please leave a comment or a link to your blog if you’ve jammed on this. And if you haven’t blogged on it, please leave some of your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’re interested in seeing what others had to say, please follow the link over to the Faith Barista site.