I guess it is a little bit of culture shock.
In my return to the U.S. and to the Western lifestyle I have been somewhat stunned at the way in which we treat each other. I am shocked at how rude we are to one another.
However, here in Hawaii I have found that every interaction I have had with the local Hawaiian people has been lovely. They have been kind, patient, helpful and pleasant. Maybe it is all in the context of tourism and good customer service but regardless, it is wonderful.
The tourists here in Hawaii are another story. The self-centeredness and rudeness seems to ooze from their very pores. The impatient-"I'm gonna get mine," attitude is unsettling. I am afraid that it is so unsettling because it looks a lot like......me.
This past year of living in South Korea has left me with a different look at how people can and should treat one another. The Korean people are rather stoic. They don't smile often but when they do it is warm and heartfelt. Their service to others is selfless and impeccable. As they drive streets packed with cars in what I would consider wild driving conditions--there is nary a hint of road rage. It is amazing--thousands of people living together in the area of one city block and they do so respectfully.....even lovingly.
I know that the South Korean culture and behavior is greatly affected by Confucianism and Buddhism-respect for elders and one another, with a strong focus upon social harmony. As I look at the lives of the Koreans and their interactions with one another, I see something that has a hint of truth in it--a hint of Jesus.
I am going to stop before I ramble into comparative criticism. I can't speak for the Korean people, the Hawaiian locals, or even for the mainland dwelling American citizen-even though I am one (sort of). I can only speak for myself. I am first and foremost a Christian, and when I speak (or live), I speak up for Jesus. What am I saying? What should I be saying?
What should I be saying and doing when things don't go my way? When the service is poor? When the conditions are less than perfect? When.....?
The Apostle Paul offers some suggestions.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:16-18
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3
Reminder to myself: Paul's admonitions apply to friends, family, spouses, kids, in-laws, out-laws and fellow church members too.