when smiles fade

My beloved Thailand, “the land of smiles” has been in political chaos.  I won’t go into all the details, as it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on them being a bystander.  I’m not Thai, but Thailand is part of me.  I often get blank stares for being so connected to a land not of my own.  I know it doesn’t make sense, unless you’ve spent time there.  I love my own country and my love for Thailand does not put a damper on that.  It’s just that I spent 1/7th of my life there.  I could tell you that it was 8 years total, but for some reason putting a fraction on it makes me grasp the scope of my connection.  All of my children were born in Thailand, and that alone ties me to Thailand.  However its not just that, the years that I have spent there, the memories I have, and the relationships formed there are cemented in my heart.  I am grateful for those years because I think they have shaped the real me that not everyone knows.  At times I don’t feel that anyone can fully know me here, if they didn’t know me there.  I can’t explain this.  It’s just that sometimes I feel that was the real me or maybe I was free to be me…I dunno.   I hesitate to even express that because I feel that makes people uncomfortable.   But….that’s the way it is.  Naturally, I am heartbroken over the recent news going on in Thailand.   To hear that Thais are against Thais is unfathomable.  For Thai to kill Thai in this way is obscene.  And there are those who set fire to their own city! I can’t even comprehend this.   Thais are not like this.  Thais have national pride.  Thais are loving, gentle, hospitable, and gracious. You could never out do a Thai in these graces.  I still believe this is the heart of Thailand…I know it is!   People on both sides have been wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually.   To see the smiles fade hurts.  This is not a sound bite on the news.  These are lives created in God’s image.  I know God is at work and that sometimes the greatest gifts come out of trial and suffering.  To that end, to God be the Glory!  I want to recognize Thailand when I visit next time around.  I want to see the smiles.  Even in all this, I love Thailand and her people.  Today, I had lunch at our local Thai restaurant and I felt hopeful.  The Thais in that restaurant are Thailand.  They are what I remember and love.  They beamed with all the joy and gregariousness that is being Thai.  I needed to be with Thai people this week, and I’m thankful that the people I encountered today still represent the  true heart of Thai people.  That was a gift.  The second gift this week, though bittersweet, was seeing almost my entire facebook home page covered with Thais and or people who have lived in Thailand.  It was after the burning of Central World Plaza.  Though the circumstances were not ideal, seeing all the names helped me to see what a blessing each name has been to me over the years.  I was able to recall a memory for each of you during our time in Thailand together.  It was each of you that also shaped my connection to Thailand.  We had some great times!  You’ve been part of my memories and I’m thankful for that.  Some of you came into my life children, and are still a part as young adults.  I will never forget your faces on those first days of school! Some of the things you said in childlike innocence still make me laugh!  Some of you were co-workers and friends.  Some of you were my introduction to Thailand back in 1994, and knowing you helped me to come back and answer a call.  I’m grateful for the part you have all played. I wish everyone could know what I know and appreciate it.  Even as I type this, a thunderstorm is rumbling in the background and that makes me feel comforted as they did in Thailand.



  1. just watched a short video news clip and saw the fires in BKK. so sad. but heard that some of the red shirt leaders turned them selves in and peace has been restored at least temporarily?

  2. Thanks Kim for this post. This ure will always be a part of us…hard to see things which were the “essence of being Thai” changing. Yet, love will triumph here and we have a wonderful opportunity for the church to begin living like the church here. Thanks for continuing to process out-loud here what Thailand has meant and continues to mean for you. You are missed here yet we appreciate your support.
    Dave and Jan

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