We received an email this week from a team hoping to come visit in January of 2013.
We live in an area where we’re not sure what areas we’ll be able to get into next week. We wait to make plans with our local contacts until just weeks or days before. The entire culture here works on a schedule that lacks, well, schedule–no calendars, no clocks, no dairies to write down reminders.
One of the headmasters of a local migrant school tells us every week that maybe he will be here or maybe he will go home soon to Burma if the new government is good.
There’s no telling when the camps will close or how long we’ll be able to do what we do here.
There were elections last November in Burma, and we’re still discovering the repercussions of them. And there are elections in Thailand next week and we’re waiting to see the repercussions of those.
We are constantly repeating to teams that things change and flexibility is key.
And then we have this team, wanting us to plan on them for January 2013, when we may or may not be here, when the camps may or may not be closed, and when Burma may or may not be freed.
And then, as we spoke with our boss about how to respond to this request, I realized how overwhelming it all is to me.
We made the decision to move here because we knew that’s what God called us to. But I’m still wrapping my head around it all–day by day, taking each thing as it comes. This week, I’m grasping that I’m missing out on a family vacation & reunion in Gatlinburg, wishing I could be a part of the fun and catch up with cousins, aunts, and uncles I have seen in nearly a decade, which is quite a long time for someone as young as I am.
I’m grappling with the fact I won’t be there for my best friend’s wedding in a month. That I won’t be there for the wedding showers, the pedicures, wedding dress shopping, the bridesmaid events, and the beautiful wedding itself. I haven’t even seen the engagement band on her finger.
To so many of the staff here, this is life. You give up family, friends, and all things familiar. You embrace this.
And once you embrace it, I think it’s hard to remember what a commitment it was. Sometimes I feel like everyone here is just waiting for me to just toughen up, swallow it, and be all here.
But I’m on this island between: between that and what was once home. I’m between America, family, vacations, buying a house, having a family, going to movies, shopping at Target and this new life of–well, shopping at local markets, always being lost in translation, being stared at regularly, cockroaches & lizards, suffering across the street, maybe just a general lostness–whether its me looking for black beans in the market or the orange soda being offered up to the spirit house. Lots of lostness.
Anyway, it was in this team wanting to come over for the New Year holiday of 2013 that I realized this island I’m standing on.
We’re in this for as long as God tell us to be here, and there’s a good chance we’ll be here then.
But I can’t commit that time away yet.
For example, when we first arrived, we already had two teams set up for December of this year. And in my first couple weeks, this nearly pushed me over the edge. I knew we wouldn’t be going home for Christmas–we had agreed to two years before furlough (minus emergencies or major events). But, I still wasn’t ready to see my Christmas holiday filled up with things here.
And it’s the same with this next Christmas and New Year holiday 2013: I can’t schedule it yet. I realize I may not have many Christmases at home with family as long as we’re here. But take one at a time. I’m still getting over Father’s Day. I’m still trying to figure out how to get Stephen a burger and fries for the 4th of July. Christmas is yet to be swallowed.
And even as I’m on this island–I don’t even know which way I want to go. That’s probably the worst part of all. I feel like the one side is yelling for me to come home and the other side is yelling for me to jump in wholeheartedly. And I don’t even know which way I want to go. I can’t grasp the person I’ll become if we stay here long; and I don’t know how I’d slip back into America after what I am now.
So I’m just standing there. Maybe yelling, “Take one thing at a time, please! Just one thing at a time!”