God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

14.07.2009 BKK inside

I discussed with a friend of mine, who visited me in BKK his experiences being here the second time. He told me about the different view, he got during his second visit and how he understood more and more the mentality of Thai people. I agreed as i remembered how long it took for me to understand and interpret the hundreds of different smiles, not always to be mistaken for a friendly one. And I told him, that for me, Bangkok taught me one lesson: Always to look twice and never to believe my first impression. Nothing is as it looks in the beginning – and only by getting accustomed to locals, making friends and patiently trying to discover their realities and social behaviour, I got glimpses of their truth in life.
A truth, a reality, which is not always identical with mine – and so it creates the need to talk a lot, listen carefully and to compromise in a way being beneficial and tolerable for both.

For me, this lesson applies also to my faith. Even if it is my truth and gives me meaning in life, I have to explore, understand and work with the truth and reality of another person I do encounter. I have to appreciate what I learn in this way and maybe even understand, that my friend, my neigbour or whoever it is, can complement my views and add new aspects, i might never have thought about.

It makes me more rich to discover the truth of another person – and it is not relativism but complementing me as a person.

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08.07.2009 Sanook and other observations on travel

Travel in Asia – and I could sit long hours in a cafe here in Thailand or in Singapore and just watching people. What a diversity – and still in both countries an interesting unity, despite the recent turmoils in Thailand. Observing people shows how virtually everybody tries to be individual – the way he or she dresses, what kind of make up, what kind of jewellery or the combination of it all..
Everybody is an individual with his or her own charisma and talents – and there are never two the same… This we also teach in our churches but sometimes there comes somewhere deep in my heart the impression up, that church institutions rather keep the diversity at bay and preach uniformity in certain ways. Working in an immigration chaplaincy does also show diversity, which in return needs an openess in pastoral work to succeed.

Sanook – often translated with “having fun” – is a Thai principle and means much more: The ability, to enjoy the moment, even if dark clouds are hanging at the same moment above ones head. To find the niche then to relax, to postpone in a certain sense for some hours the routine, the worries – also that is a reminder of the Christian virtue to live the moment and not to forget, that we all have only one life and it deserves to be lived to the fullest – every second.

Both thoughts apply also, when I think of so many encounters with people living with the virus. They are all individuals – and no “general opinion”  matches their life situation. No sterotype thoughts can do them justice.
And as, especially in South Africa, the perspective of many people living witht he virus is still bleak and dark, because of lack of medical care and other reasons, they have to enjoy their life as long as they can. And they deserve it.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Reflection, , , , , , , ,

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