Home / Stories / “It Looks Difficult…”

“It Looks Difficult…”

The blind, mute, and immobile challenge

Editor’s note: Missioner-in-formation Janice Smullen draws parallels between life and an activity the formation class and other FMS participants did during a recent team building day.

“So, here are the rules of this exercise. One person is blindfolded and will navigate a set of actions. One person will be able to verbally tell the blindfolded person how to navigate the dilemmas. The person speaking will have her back to the one blindfolded and will be guided by the rest of the group who can view the progress of the blindfolded person BUT cannot use words – only pantomime actions to give directions and reactions.”

Over and over, as I related my plans for full-time service overseas, people said to me, “Well, it fits you, Janice but I could never do it.”   After these first few weeks of formation for mission, I want to assure you, change IS scary but it opens a door into the greater richness of God’s world!   I left my car and donated almost all of my clothes so that the remainder can fit into one suitcase. I left familiar faces to join a community of 13, all younger than I. I wander a much bigger city where chances are slim that I will encounter a familiar face. I didn’t know what to expect from this step, as if I was wearing a blindfold. I groped around for new routines and new experiences.

Janice tries to perform tasks while blindfolded

Janice tries to perform tasks while blindfolded

When I was literally blindfolded the other day, I spent all of my energy listening to my guide and concentrating on my actions. I didn’t have any idea what the group actions looked like. I had to listen carefully to a voice and try various maneuvers before I could hear a positive response.

Janice's group works together to direct her

Janice’s group works together to direct her

Perhaps the person whom I could hear mirrored the role of God in our lives. This is the voice that we try to enlist when we have to make difficult decisions.

The rest of the group was voiceless but they were certainly animated in trying to make their directions “heard”. Perhaps they symbolized the prayers that many of our friends and family send up for us. Perhaps they symbolize the many diversions and excuses that we bow to as we ponder our next step in a decision.

Real life is much harder when those voices endlessly compete to be heard. Quiet, focus, and dependable support certainly helped me to accomplish each of the required steps.

So, whatever you need to do today that looks hard, or scary, or overwhelming: step with God through the challenge.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKvwyKVHf10&list=RDFn2RlqE84v4&index=5″]

Janice has been granted the fruits of a family vocation and many community volunteer experiences during the past 40 years. Each experience has helped to build her faith in God's unending and unconditional love. She has been a CCD teacher, doula, ESL instructor, retreat facilitator, and mentor to refugee families. Now, Janice is grateful for the freedom and health and the opportunity to continue service and growth overseas. She lived most recently in Greensboro, NC, and loves to garden, sew, read, hike, and do yoga. Janice has been in Kingston, Jamaica since March 2016.