Monday, February 18, 2013

In Which They Remind Me

I will never forget it.

We were sitting in a living room infiltrated with scents that weren't found naturally in this Western nation of ours. Some things I'd never smelled and couldn't even articulate words to describe the uptake into my nostrils if I tried. I just remember thinking it was weird. And not wanting to offend. And being scared to complete a full sentence for fear they might respond and I wouldn't be able to understand their intent covered in that thick accent. So I kept quiet and labeled it my introvert tendencies.

The truth—I was so prideful and blinded by it too.

It was my first time around internationals and I had no idea what I was doing. 

That night I realized it was my duty, my call, my loving of others to actually eat these funny smelling dishes—and smile no matter how slimy or potent as it slides on down. I can compliment bad food without a problem. This was much more a personal dilemma of—what in the world am I about to put in my mouth? But I did it. And some of it was not my flavor of choice, but some of it was the best thing I'd tasted in weeks. And I learned to give up some control.

I'd never met these middle easterners but my roommate spoke of them enough where I could easily match faces with names and tid bits of stories she'd shared. Actually, she talked about them a lot and she saw them often. They were generally students and a couple were even married and raising babies. She took them to Walmart or the doctor. She showed up when a new baby arrived and she handled all of their car troubles. I didn't see it then, but she was living life with these sojourns and she understood something I didn't. She had my attention and that night was the beginning.

That's all of us, you know. Sojourners, exiles, people not belonging yet very much here for now. 

It's so temporary? We are fooled into believing death is the end and yet it is very much the beginning of fulness or the beginning of wrath, depending. 

I've just been remembering this week as I've been asked four times in a row over the past several days, quite randomly, how it all started. It started with my roommate loving on these internationals and me tagging along.

Looking back, I see this longing for home and the way they draw me back to it. They pull me out of myself and into Christ all the more. 

It just happens. You can't even think about the chasms much because you are there to build relationship. Eating their food the way they do it, even if that means sitting on the dirt floor scooping up mush with my fingers—it never becomes normal. I used to label it sacrifice and plug it into the verses about suffering for Christ. Now it's just part of the experience—a joyful one actually. Sometimes, it's flat out hilarious.

Last week I drew out the gospel for one of my Korean friends and I remember a couple years back sitting outside of Starbucks on campus beneath the warmth of the sun as I learned how to draw that gospel cliff for the first time, how to portray the bridge lacking through which the brokenness of man might attain relationship with a perfect and holy God.

The bridge—Jesus. 

And I come full circle and realize He himself was a sojourner on this earth and in His image we were made to glorify. That is, before Eve ate the apple that whispers this is the best that will ever be, this job and salary and house and family.

Let's live it up because it might not last forever. 

Well, it won't.

So in the meantime I plan big dinners and bonfires to meet new international friends and I study the bible with a group of girls and I have these four that call me "mummy" and I create this program for more college students to get involved because it won't last forever and I want them to hear. 

I love being in these funny-smelling, what am I about to put in my mouth, smiling and nodding a lot make up for the language discrepancy, meals shared because the root of it all makes me feel so uncomfortable and I need to remember hour by hour. 

This world is not your home. Don't get too comfortable. Don't depend on the food or the conversations or the comforts that make this home because it's just a blink in comparision. Just a blink.

My international friends remind me that I'm not home yet. They keep me longing for this day where every nation, tribe, people, and language will stand before the throne of the Lamb, shoulder to shoulder, draped in white as we cry out salvation belongs only to you, oh God!

And I want them there. I want them next to me. 

So I say stupid things [a lot] and we eat together [a lot] and I make faces when I don't like their food and they complain about my food making them fat and we belly laugh [a lot] and we miss home together [a lot] and I love them [a whole, whole lot] because Christ first loved me and we tell each other this is all just a blink.

A dinner at my apartment with lots of friends...on display some legit PadThai I made!!
Three of my "daughters" (with one back in Korea)
Our bible study Valentine Celebration
Movie Night!!

1 comment:

  1. Vertical then horizontal, this walk with Christ. It looks like y'all are having so much fun...EXCELLENT!