Thursday, September 20, 2007

"You Don't Know What You Got..."

As the saying/song ("Big Yellow Taxi") goes: "You don't know what you got 'till it's gone." (Grammatically incorrect, I know.)

Today at Kirita there was a mini-concert performed by members of a local (junior?) orchestra and the songs made me feel a little...nostalgic/homesick. Towards the end of the program they played "Take Me Home Country Road" (from the Studio Ghibli anime "Mimi wo Sumaseba" aka "Whisper of the Heart") and a medley from "The Sound of Music."

The cellist explained the background of the songs (in Japanese, of course), and encouraged everyone to sing along if they could--particularly for the "Do Re Mi" song from "The Sound of Music." Listening to the familiar music, I had the urge to play the piano.

But of course I remembered that I don't have a piano of my own here.

Funny, isn't it how one of the first things from Canada that I feel the lack of is something that I didn't even really use when I was there? If I can download & print or otherwise rustle up some sheet music, I may ask the music teacher at Kirita if there's a time when I can practice without disturbing people.

The "Country Road" song specifically also made feel a little nostalgic. When I heard the opening bars of the song, I remembered watching the movie with Ceci and laughing over how they killed the song in the movie with overuse!

I miss hanging out with the girls and/or small group people. All the JET friends I've made here are great, and we get together quite frequently, but it's not quite the same.

And I know I've been pretty complacent about my relationship with God since coming here (if not for the sense that I "should be" attending church, I probably wouldn't feel bothered at all by the fact that I'm not going to make a concerted effort to find a church until I get a car), but I think that this is really where I can see "the difference."

Don't get me wrong, my friends here are amazing people who are always more than willing to lend a hand or to go the extra mile for a friend--and I don't know how I would've gotten along in Japan without them--but without God in the relationship, there isn't that same feeling of investment in each other's lives.

I miss sharing not just about the events and details of life but about the true thoughts and feelings that arise from them. I miss that feeling of knowing others and being known by them. I miss being able to pray with others about anything and everything.

In a nutshell, I miss Christian community.

And I guess that just highlights the strength and weakness of my faith.

I've never doubted God's presence in my life. In all the times of trouble or apathy I've experienced, I've always known that God is here for me. I don't think I've ever really doubted his love or wondered if he's deserted me.

But because of that certainty, I am also complacent. I don't worry about my lack of action to accompany my faith. And when I neglect God, I don't feel the same sense of loss/disconnection that I feel in relation to people.

One of my goals before coming to Japan was to earnestly seek GOD. I wanted to build a relationship with him that wasn't contingent on other people or service in a church/ministry.

And here I am, a month and a half into my life in Japan (and an hour into writing this post) and I'm only just realizing that I've completely lost sight of that goal.

As certain as I am (and have been) of God, I can see now that I still have no idea what it means to be a Christian. And I'm pretty sure I've come to this realization before.

I just wonder how many more times I'm going to have to come to it before I start figuring things out.

Post-Script: Reviewing what I've written, I ask myself:

Should I post this here, or should I post it on my devo blog?

Will people who aren't from MCBC/the Mississauga church circle be turned off from this blog after reading this post? Will they ask me questions I won't feel comfortable answering? Will it negatively alter their perceptions of me somehow? I've used a lot of Christian jargon; I don't want to seem like some right-wing Bible-thumper.

Who is this blog for? How much of myself do I want to share with its intended audience? Do I compartmentalize myself too much--a Japan blog, a devo blog, a hockey blog, an anime/manga/random blog, a Xanga blog...?

What does it say about my "faith" that I am a bit uncomfortable with sharing these thoughts with anyone and everyone who feels like reading this blog post?

Will people who aren't close Christian friends bother reading all of this anyway? And even if they do, will they comment on it, or say anything to me about it?

And finally:

I've spent over an hour writing this thing! Isn't it about time that I took a shower and got ready for bed? I've got classes to teach tomorrow, and I've been going to bed pretty late for the past few days!


ceci said...

Oh my... "Whisper of the Heart" is two hours I'll never forget. Good times... good times...

Of course that other one about those racoon-looking creatures (i forget what they're called!) was pretty hilarious as well! XD

I think it's worthwhile to post different aspects of your life in Japan, after all it adds up to "more of Mel". :)

I have (non-christian) school friends who read my Xanga, as well. I'm still careful with what I say, but I think there's good in speaking about a mix of all topics.

So, thanks for sharing!


ok_jk said...

Great post Mel. :)

Did you ever get my email?

ceci said...

Hope you're doing well...


LTwoThousand7 said...

Keep posting Mel!

Did you get my snail mail? ^_^


ceci said...

Heard about the delay, but hope you made it there safe and sound!


Linguista said...

hey Mel,

I found this post very insightful and I just wanted to let you know that I am glad you posted it. I am not a very devout Christian, but I do believe, and I am somewhat worried about going to a country with so little Christianity and so much Buddhism. I am a very open person when it comes to food, and culture and language, but religion... I am not sure.