Privacy – Part 4

How important is your privacy?
I appreciate my privacy!
Please respect my privacy.
Personal space is important to me.
Alone time is necessary for me to function.
During my t in Papua New Guinea, I had a rude awakening waiting for me! Life is simply not like that in other cultures.  Now, I am not talking about when Jesus went up to a quiet place to pray…I’m not advocating NO private time, space or place. I am simply saying in the context of ‘’privacy’’ as a right in western world culture. There are things about my western culture that I simply do not ‘’fit into’’ anymore.  There are things like ‘’working together in community” that I learnt a lot about, while living in the villages and how the community worked together in specifics ways…without fail. They’re cultural calendar was well known by all, They have a frame of reference correlating with the times of year and seasons – this was a great comfort to me.  I could tell you in more detail about these times, season, events and so on – for now, though, I would like to relate the one thing that really challenged me….the lack of privacy –  most everything was done in public! Washing in the river, gathering food, preparing and cooking food, playing, working, schooling, going places….everything was seen by everyone…most houses have no doors or windows.  How would you cope with that?
I don’t think I was ‘’completely’’ comfortable with that level of public ‘’intrusion’’ into my personal private world…however, it did become easier with time.  That does not mean I didn’t get any time alone – sleeping for example.
Now though, I have come to reflect on them often…because in our western culture world-view – me, mine and our personal private space and time is held in reverence over any other thing… The level we go to in order to keep others out…of our homes (security locks), yards (higher fences), our workplaces, our cars, our belongings of any kind (insurance coverage of all varieties)….we want to protect so much of what we have! (I do not deny the necessity of being good stewards and security – though not to the detriment of “others”.)

There is one thing of such great value – we could miss out on…whilst we protect ourselves, our belongings and our private time – Relationships! 
“Oh, but we cannot let everyone in…we gotta draw a line somewhere….don’t we?”
His wisdom is available all of the time, in all circumstances and situations for everyone.
I’m just saying, we can get very insular in our thinking which limits our ability to relate to people, outside of our immediate needs and wants…even to the extent that we may become desensitised to others needs in our local community and beyond– finding reasons, excuses and justifying as to why ‘’they’’ may find themselves in a less fortunate place than ourselves.

Christ doesn’t hold us at arm’s length, He stretched His arm’s fully open on the Cross to embrace us in Relationship – that none should perish.  Today – be, go and do likewise – stretch your arms out and embrace someone today, as you have been embraced you.

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