I hate feeling stupid. In that sense, moving to Japan was probably the worst thing I could have done two years ago. I didn't understand what it would mean to live in a thoroughly foreign culture (this despite having lived in Europe and South America, which as it turns out are not that different from the states when compared with the difference between the states and Asia), so I hopped in without thinking twice.
When, as occasionally happens, I wonder whether God is real and homosexual action is indeed sinful, I remember the awful, awful times I've had here. That time when I understood just enough Japanese to tell my co-teacher was telling a joke about Americans not bathing and then forty students laughed uproariously The many times when the group conversation was going along at a normal clip (read: too fast for me to follow) when suddenly everyone stops and looks at me expectantly and I have no idea what question was just asked. The times when I've misunderstood the school lunch system and taken someone else's food by accident, and then had to ask the explaining principal to repeat himself three times before I understood. Any time the word 'girlfriend' comes up in conversation.
The thing is, the awful times don't make me regret coming here, being here, and doing what I've done.
I have the feeling that if, at some future time, I come to believe or know that I've been treading the wrong path in regards to homosexuality and religion, I won't regret what I've been doing. I have the feeling that all these experiences shall be for my good even if, in the future, I come to see them as awful sin. I'm willing to trust that the discomfort that might come from action now will be, all things considered, worth it.
What's interesting is that this same mode of thinking works for people who stick with the church. They're willing to trust that the discomfort they feel now will be worth it.
We're all acting on trust; it's just that we have trust in different things.
I am in an unpleasant mood this afternoon because tonight I'm going to my last kendo practice in Japan, and I am not very good, and all those smiling, sword-swinging people speak full Japanese vocabularies too fast for me to understand more than one word in five, and I will feel stupid. Still, I'll go. I trust I'd regret it later, not going.
I saw this video on TR's blog and immediately wanted to share it with everyone everywhere.