This has been a hard week. This week everything has seemed bad. I was overwhelmed at one stage by all that we have lost in coming to Sweden – our home, our friends, some of our family, my job, our reputation. And for what gain. It just seemed crazy.
Yesterday Samuel went to school feeling sad for his friend Hunter back home who had meant so much to him, and to whom he had meant so much. Hanna cried for half an hour last night after listening to music and remembering her friend Becky with whom she used to dance. No-one here understands, she sobbed, how it feels to leave everything behind. She is already anticipating how sad it will be to leave here in a few years time.
Times like that everything is bad. Its so cold, and dark, and wet. The language is hard. Why do we have to live in a tiny flat when we had a big house with lots of rooms and a big garden and a swimming pool?
And yet there are good things here, and even Hanna and Samuel can see that. Samuel realized this morning that he is to one of his new friends here, Daniel, what he was to his old friend, Hunter. Daniel’s a bit like Hunter he said… And Isak is “happy as Larry”. Perhaps its his age.
And then I read this in the Guardian Abroad…
The most essential tool you will need when you first move abroad is a pair of binoculars, albeit hypothetical. And these are no ordinary binoculars either. Odd though this may seem to you, in the experience of relocating, you always need to remember that two processes are underway: one is grief, the other is gain. Through one lens of these grief and gain binoculars, you can behold all that it is losing and letting go: the people you loved, the house that was “home”, the places you visited and all the things you tasted. Through the other lens, you can see strangers that might be kind, houses that might become home, famous places you’ve always wanted to see, and delicious food that you cannot yet name. One half of the binoculars helps you cope with the reality of loss, while the other helps you spot the potential gains.
The binoculars of grief and gain. How well it fits. The writer goes on to describe the temptation to replace the binoculars with a telescope, which sees only one of these two sides of the experience. But that is dangerous and can lead to all kinds of difficulties… I know from bitter experience.
So that is how we see things just now, with the binoculars of grief and gain…