So my wife is checked in and waiting to fly out. Today our PNG friend
came in to work with her daughter. Every time I see her daughter I
realize there has been a problem at her nearby school. So I ask,

'Why is she here? What happened?'

IF ever there was a culture who could talk so matter-of-factly about
horrible things, it is this culture. It doesn't mean they don't feel
deep emotion, it just means truth is truth and they say it without shame.

If you're fat, they say 'you are fat.' There is no sense of 'maybe I
shouldn't say such things.' like we have in the U.S. It's candid and to
the new-arrival its rude. But it isn't rude, it's true, and obvious and
they say it.

So... very matter of factly as if telling me that the weather was nice
today, she said,

'An enraged man came into the classroom, took a knife and slit the
throat of the teacher, and she died. So there is no school today.'

I was horrified.

The students saw it, but that didn't seem to be an ordeal. There was no
'I'm worried about the psychy of my child.' There was just 'so that's
why there is no school today.'

This isn't the first time a death has been the cause of school being

You almost get the impression that it's like a 'snow day'. Except then
at the funeral there is horrible wailing and nashing of teeth and
pulling of hair. And you don't see that in the U.S.

So you tell me, which culture feels deeper emotion? The ones that get
choked up telling you the horror that happened but then are stoic and
somber at funerals? OR the ones who say exactly what happened without a
single tear, and then moan and wail and thrash at the funeral?

The Pngians have a time and a place for expressing emotion and grief.
It is their way. And honestly, it makes a lot of sense to me. They set
aside a time to grieve, and do it VERY thoroughly. And then go back to
work. Whereas we tend to let it permeate us for a very long time in all
that we do.

There is so much death and loss here that if we had to live in PNG the
png way and yet grieve in our American way, we'd be constantly useless
to anyone.

So, it kind of puts the chaos of rushing home into perspective.

No matter what our trials, someone else is bearing more. That doesn't
mean our trials are unimportant. They mean the world to us. We each
have our burdens to bear. What I have learned is that sharing the
burden makes it lighter, and that God is good through the small and the
big trials.