Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On South Asia Coming to Town

Don't worry, this is not a big announcement that I am moving across the world—though I do hope and pray that day will come, soon.

Above my bed hangs this photo, taken moments before I passed through security and handed over my Indian Visa in exchange for my American identity and all the luggage that goes with it. We cried and we hugged just one last time at least a dozen times before I could will my legs unlock from that place, that place on this side of eternity where I have never felt more at home. What was being left behind seemed far greater then anything on the other side of that darn metal detector.

Tomorrow, a glimpse of this photo is coming to me. 

I glanced back as the tears still streamed heavy and gave them a big smile, a just hold on don't forget me I'm coming back kind of smile. And that's the pride in me, the part that still knows I can save the world. You know, since I don't know a lick of the language, have merely glimpsed the culture, and am the only white person for hours. So my body straightened and I willed my neck not to turn around again, I put one foot in front of the other and flew back to my native soil. 

It didn't take long before I remembered—the food, the soft bed, the AC, the family that I adore, and the friends that make this home. The water tastes so clean and it doesn't make me sick and I don't fear the bugs crawling across my legs as I dream of all the tongues and tribes confessing one day, hearing it right there in the dark under that net. I think I showered a dozen times those first couple days—mostly because I could.

 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
    and “every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him”;

    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”

So shall it be! Amen.
                                         -Revelation 1:7

I sleep and eat and go back to work. There is so much to do that my hours blur to days, my days become weeks and now it has been nearly four months since my return to this soil so green. I plastered images across all four of my walls where I sleep so that I wouldn't forget because I already have. Some days, I look at those faces all brown and hot. I wonder about them by name and I offer up some words. I want to be there, but I am here. So I fight with these nations, with the burden I bear, this battle that rages like some unhealthy dare.

And tomorrow, my sleeping and eating and working are going to be interrupted when I arrive at the airport and all of this is awakened once more with one breath of the spices still lingering and the way his accent repaves that little path right on home. I know it is coming and it scares me to death. I know I have gotten comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable here on this soil.

India comes up once in a while. We talk and I pray and I forget some days. I want to go and teach English and disciple the women, but wisdom says white woman should not go alone to live on a mountain with only nationals. So I wait and I doubt and I study and I play with these kids. I serve well at my job and think about my husband too much. I buy clothes I don't need and dye my hair every month and I eat way too much ice cream. I forget how to need Jesus like I did there. I fill up on all this other stuff. Persecution is different, and here is hard too. I long to know the Jesus I did there. I long to go back.

Back to the place where I don't need makeup because I don't get blemishes because I hear my food outside squawking just hours before I eat it and any remaining toxins seep down my skin with the rise of the sun and each step I take in that inferno. I'm sure I complained about it then, but now I chase it down like a dog his tail. Endless circles and back and forth, longing for something that seems so far away, yet so close you can taste it. Until God says go, I will probably keep spinning, trying to grab hold of something God is so divinely doing that I can do nothing but trust as I linger between my here and my there.

In the meantime, I prepare practically—working full time to pay off school debt, studying to get a college degree, learning to die to self by living with a dozen, trusting authority and honoring it. And I prepare spiritually—sharing the gospel with my international friends, building relationships with internationals, pouring out more and needing less, learning to feed myself the Word, and learning to hear other voices less and Jesus more.

I can't wait to know how all those little brown faces are doing, how God is answering little, quiet American prayers all the way across the world on that mountain, among those people whom I love, among those people who He loves.

So me and the butterflies already fluttering in my belly will head to the airport tomorrow night and yes, for a good long week I get to smell spices and feel the Spirit dwell so richly as words fall from his lips. I know I will be challenged and encouraged and the week with Sam will mess me up. 

But it's okay because life is just messy and He has always seemed to make something incredible from my messes—probably just because He can. And I love that.

They say the grass always looks greener on the other side—but what if we simply learn to glory in the dirt of the here and now?

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