My visit in Poland has left strong impressions on me and if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen this picture before... It's a regular high-rise in Swinouscje. I was impressed by its beauty and the care that the residents take of it. It stands in stark contrast to what these houses look like in Germany. To me, this picture shows what kind of lessons I have learned, just by leaving. They are small and mostly insignificant but they are adding up.
Here are some examples...
E&P (the couple I visited) knew exactly where their place was in society, what they wanted and where they were headed, quite different from me. Every decision I have made in the past 10 years, they have made differently. “Different” is the only word I can think of to describe them that doesn't imply judgment. At the same time, “different” is such a weak word to describe anyone because it only means something in relation to something else. I will try to be more specific without sharing too much. Their response to resistance is to keep their ground (with great effort and humility) and to consistently work towards their goal. That goal is a family, a place to live, perhaps a house. Their way to achieve this goal is a profession, a job, and it lies in the conflicts with each of their families and their faith. Family is fulfillment. Especially their way to deal with faith impressed me. My reaction to restrictions and externally fixed notions of good and bad is immediate opposition. My neck hairs stand up and my index finger wanders to my forehead. Such nonsense! (Do not dare to make any attempts at regulating my life and be glad if I come into your churches at all.) I only give as much "good" as I can, or sometimes as much as I want to and I am ok with that. What that "good" is, is defined by me. It has to be given voluntarily, uninvited and from the heart. To me, this has more to do with humanity and community than with religion. These thoughts would never cross their minds. Despite my position, I am very much impressed by the fact that someone follows these old fashioned rules and as a consequence lives a balancing act. The two of them deal with these rules until they get to their core and make them worth living.
E&P took me to a service at their church. To my surprise it was wonderful. (I had been warned that services in Poland were exceptionally lengthy.) In spite of my Evangelic education and familiarity with the Catholic faith (I attended a Catholic school), the experience in this service was special. The faith in Poland is taken more seriously and more people make the effort to come. (Where I come from a church packed like that happens only on Christmas.) Almost everyone came in their Sunday clothes and looked very pretty. The intensity of the congregation that day was palpable and it helped, that the priest was a phenomenal entertainer. A truly beautiful experience.