Wednesday, 29 July 2015

50,000 Shades of Grey


As a Canadian, I come from a culture that is pretty much black and white. We have rules which we mostly follow. Now I know that that is a generalisation. However, we live our lives assuming that the rules will be followed and, if not, there are consequences for not following them. There is a certain safety in that way of life.

Take that to the next level...if a rule gets broken often enough a new one is created to adjust for that.  For example, paying taxes. How many people, who own their own businesses, got 'caught' when the whole GST rule came into effect? Or the 1000 + 1 rules for receiving unemployment? Etc. Etc.

So you take said Canadian and move her to Mexico.  Black and White turns into 50,000 shades of grey!

Mexicans themselves will tell you that ANYTHING can be done in Mexico. There is no such thing as a NO. One just needs to know how to get it. Black can easily turn into grey. You get a ticket from a policeman ... we can make that go away. Have a traffic accident that is your fault...we can change that. When you get a 'no' somewhere you just find someone who knows someone, who knows someone, and it call all be worked out! Sounds like a plan, especially if you are in the wrong!

Now I don't want to talk about corruption, because there is little I can do about it, nor is it my place to deal with that. I want to talk about how this mindset or worldview effects me - because it does, and it is so subtle. An everyday thing, where this hits me, is driving. I don't drive very often here; mostly Ernie does, but when I do, I have noticed a shift (I might add that I notice the shift in his driving as well! He would say I could comment less about it as well). The yellow traffic light is not nearly as yellow here as it is a home. A traffic sign that says no U-Turn is a 'suggestion'.  A yellow curb means very little if anything at all. And the list is long....  

Recently I was talking to a fellow expat and he was saying that the risk is that we adapt this greying concept little by little until it becomes our compass.  It can then slip into every area of our lives.  Things  become grey - no black and white, no right and wrong. We know we can get ourselves out of a pickle by just applying the grey. No one would even think less of us - its understood. Friends would even help you. Whether the worldview within Mexico is that all things are possible (you just need to know how and whom to ask) does not mean that I can break the law, or that things should not be done because they are wrong. Or, can I even go as far as to say, they are SIN?  

I don't want to sound like a Pharisee or even live like one. Nor do I want to make life about rules.  However, I do not want to lose my moral or spiritual compass. I want to be seen and known as a person of integrity. I want to live within the guidelines God has given me, no matter the culture within which I find myself.

P.S. An after thought - I wonder if we don't face similar challenges back home (Canada) given the rampant changes in technology, and the changes in the culture that surrounds us there? Do you not face the same challenges regarding how to maintain a moral/spiritual compass in your life?  





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