Friday, June 10, 2011

Seit der Wende or: CAUTION: Pregnant while moving

I was a missionary in the former East Germany within the first decade after reunification, known as die Wende [VEN-duh], the change or turning point. At the time (and probably still today, but I can't speak to that) the mood on the street was one notch lower than depressed. Not a day went by - in all literality - without someone going through The Litany about how everything had gotten worse: Früher war alles besser. Everything used to be better. The buses don't run as well as they did seit der Wende, communities aren't as friendly seit der Wende. I honestly don't know what you young people have to live for, they would say every day, what with crime and unemployment and suicide and and and.

And I got to listen to that every day. I half-joked with someone once about how birds didn't sing so sweetly, flowers smell so nice, or the sky be as blue seit der Wende. The elderly, disapproving gentleman nearby asked, "And have You gone through a Wende, Elder?"


The difficulty of being pregnant while planning a move to another country is that it's very easy for us to forget we are pregnant. There is such a Wende coming that everything we do needs to prepare for one or the other, and preparing for one IS preparing for the other, but only up to a point. Packing the stuff is part of selling the house and is part of being ready for our Princess. But it's not everything.

Kind people comment that they can't believe Joy is 9 months pregnant already. "The time goes by so quickly," they say. "Though, probably that's not as true for you!" Joy regularly avers that, no, actually, the time goes by very quickly while we're preparing for our move. But the Princess is coming in two weeks. Two weeks! In 5 weeks we leave to visit family. In two months we'll be in Nigeria. A Wende indeed!

One of the keys to my success as a new father with the Prince was expecting the absolute worst: a world of perpetual crying, sleeplessness, spit up, messes, and soiled underwear ... and that's just me! :)  The reality was so much better, I loved early fatherhood with a boy who quickly learned to sleep through the night. I've been warned a time or two that in Nigeria, the way to be happy is to expect the worst, lower your expectations one notch below that, and then let yourself be pleasantly surprised on occasion.

Preparing for the worst does not appear to be a winning strategy this time, though. There is so much Worst to prepare for with so many changes that all it would do is paralyze me in a ball of stressful anticipation. Our world is going to go quite topsy turvy. From this side of things, I don't know how or even who we will become in the months ahead.


This is going to be a turning point, a Wende indeed. I have seen what a Wende can do. I don't want to live like that.

I want to focus now to be on enjoying what we have while we have it. "Crispix!" cheers my wife from the couch. "Cottage cheese! Cheese in general, oh my goodness!"

I want to focus then on enjoying what we have while we have it. It's a wonderful time of life, to discover this new little person, to fall in love with someone all over again, to explore a whole new environment and people and culture and a work I will love.

Yes, there's more than enough to worry about for the future. But there will be time enough to worry about it then. You can find problems and stress and heartache everywhere. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

Sufficient to the day is the good thereof.

 -- Derrill