The kids love to sort. They’ll put all the yellow magnets together and all the red, or they’ll put all the A’s together and all the 3’s.
They love to play with the dress-up dolls, just to put all the shirts in a pile and all the dresses and all the shoes; while the poor dolls lay there naked.
A few days ago, a little girl that is new to the neighborhood came and sat down in front of the magnet board. She began to organize every magnet on the board–hundreds of them–in row after row. There was absolutely no system whatsoever. Just row after row of chaos.
The board stayed that way for a few days, and I kept notching it. She had taken such care, and it was obviously an accomplishment to her. But to anyone else, it was just chaos. You couldn’t tell what she was thinking.
I think that is what our lives are right now: row after row of apparent chaos, where we have put so much thought and prayer and consideration into each placed piece. One man’s chaos is another man’s life, I suppose.
Since we returned from the States, we’ve been finding our place here in Mae Sot outside of working with Partners as an organization and office. We suddenly have no schedule and no immediate bosses. We have no required meetings or office hours. We have life and friendships, but meddled in with endless needs and complicated boundaries.
While our lives have lost a schedule, they have taken on endless to-do lists. The possibilities are truly endless with how we spend our time, how we invest here. But they are not all possible; they are not all wise.
We wake up most days with an idea of how it will go, and then it doesn’t.
Day after day after day.
That is how you suddenly start a flower delivery business and hardly realize it. That is how you invite friends over for dinner but then find yourself the worst possible host as you are late to start the grill because your husband was asked to move some friends now; you pause conversation to bandage up the crying child at the door and wipe up blood off your floor; and then pause–yet again!–to deliver a late attendee to a prenatal class. That is how you find yourself teaching friends how to shut the car door so that it locks & doesn’t swing open when you turn a corner–after it has happened too many times this week to count.
And while our lives are a little chaotic, we are also really enjoying the beauty of it. I am absolutely loving the flower deliveries and spending the time with San Aye & Na Leh Ton. The English classes have been so fun. They give us more time with the kids that is more bearable with a little more structure. We have met quite a few new families, as well.
As we were starting our adult English class a few weeks ago, Stephen and I chatted a bit back and forth as he asked if I needed anything else and if everyone had tea. Our Karen translator said to me, surprised, “You & Stephen love each other. My husband and I, we just fight, fight, fight.” In that one sentence, I was so encouraged. That is precisely why we are here: to live life and show a different way. Marriages don’t have to be battles, drinking doesn’t have to lead to drunkenness, and there is hope. We can learn from each other.
It’s still chaos, and that is somewhat exhausting in and of itself. But we are finding rows coming out of the mess. Ultimately, we are seeing God creating and orchestrating. He is answering prayers. He is showing up, if you will. We really believe he is making something really beautiful out of our chaotic, messy lives in a chaotic, messy place.