Tag Archives: change

HOUSE OF MIRRORS : Concepts for survival and sanity

Image result for picture house of mirrors
I’m 8 years old at a traveling carnival.
Holding onto my parents’ hands, we walk into a tent full of funny mirrors.  People stand in front of them, some laughing, some screaming hilariously , and others walking away with disgusted looks on their faces.
Mom and Dad take me to one mirror: the three of us are long and funny looking.  The next one we’re all short and grossly fat.  I try to touch the mirror, but my hand changes so much that I draw back, a little frightened.
I didn’t see anything funny and am glad to leave!
I’m 15.  We are visiting an entertainment park, and go into the house of mirrors.
My friends and I all started laughing at each other, and the images in the mirrors.
It was funny – but at the same time I didn’t like it  That person in the mirror was a “me” that I didn’t know.
I’m in my early 30’s and sitting in a class studying the elements of culture shock.
The teacher uses an illustration about a “house of mirrors” and, although we are the same, the images thrown back at us are of someone we don’t really know. There are glimpses, but we have difficulty seeing ourselves in the reflections
When we are in a culture that is strange to us, we do what we’ve always done, but the reactions (mirrors) in those around us too many times show us something different.
This creates an inner confusion and we begin to wonder who we  really are?
 We need a mirror with the correct reflection so we can regain our balance and make better decisions.
August 1967  Santos, Brasil
When I move to Brazil, a new language and a new culture inundate me from the moment I step off the ship onto the docks: the smells, the yelling by the dock workers as they unload our containers from the Japanese freighter/passenger ship – and I can’t understand a word!
I follow someone through the utter confusion. Boarding a bus to take us to Sao Paulo (about 50 miles away), I look out the window and see road signs that I can only guess their meaning. Looking up at the sky and back at the now miniature docks and ocean, the bus heads up the winding road on the mountainside, leaving the ship that has been home for three weeks. I am overwhelmed. I recognize the only thing that still looks the same is the sky but even THAT will become unfamiliar at night with different galaxies and stars.
The vegetation along the way, how the people dress, even the sounds around me on the bus, and the bus itself:  it is ALL different.  The only thing I have to hang onto that hasn’t changed is God.
My new life is beginning. How is hanging onto God’s hand going to help me as I walk into this humongous “house of mirrors.?”
Have you ever asked yourself this question when life suddenly changes?  Maybe you planned the change; perhaps it happened against your will.
Regardless of the reason, every day the question pounds in your mind:  “How do I get out of this?”Image result for picture house of mirrors

What Does DIFFERENT Mean?



Today, we are living smack in the middle of different!


When I’m out on the street, in stores or offices, I may hear at least three different languages:  English, Spanish, and/or Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese . . .

Each of these languages represents a different culture and different belief system.
In Seattle, the international airport has instructions in English and Japanese.  Probably the majority of airports in the US have instructions in English and Spanish. Many business automatic phone responses say: “Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish.”


Because I lived in another country and learned how to bond into it, I recognize many of the feelings of being “lost” in the USA of today.
I’m being forced to learn the culture of a country I don’t know, a country that doesn’t even know itself.

I painfully realize that I am, once again, going through culture shock.  And lucky you, who have never traveled outside of the US! you don’t even have to leave the country to experience culture shock.  It’s HERE!


Am I to get so irritated with all of the changes that I think about nothing else? Or hide out in my home or apartment and pretend there are no changes?    Do either of these questions resonate with you?



From where I stand, it looks like we have three basic choices with many variations.

Denial – attempting to keep some form of normalcy in our homes and avoiding what is happening outside.

Give in – to the merry-go-round – and give up: let everyone do what they want. Jump into the culture and get what you can.

Or – find some place where we can place our feet that is solid and does not change, so we can see the reality of our circumstances


I desire to share with you different concepts that helped me learn to live in Brazil, and the concepts that are helping me now.  For we are definitely on a journey as this country changes and as the world changes: an age that many believe are the last days talked about in the Bible.


When one is in the midst of chaos and change, one needs a point of reference and stability that does not change.  

That is the first step, and it helps us to keep our sanity,


I will write about thisglobe hands-different-cultures basic concept in my next post.


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