i am exhausted. i have never had problems with long windy road before. but today was extremely difficult coping with the motion sickness. the reasons i got car-sick might come from these causes: 1) the road itself is curvy (it is the renown route that causes many people to get sick and throw up) 2) the driver is not very skilled in maneuvering through windy road or 3) i have not had enough rest. for whatever reasons, i was a grumpy pile for most of the ride while putting my best feet forward in providing information, connecting people and being patient when things did not go as i expected. when we eventually got to the hotel in the evening, all i could do was to shut the door to the world and climb wearily into the bed.
i am also homesick. well, if missing people dear to your heart is homesickness, then what i feel right now is probably it. for the past two months, i have worked with different teams from various organizations. we served together. we shared moments of doubts, fear and sorrow as much as trust, courage and joy. and now that i have had a bit of time alone to wind down and process experiences and thoughts, the emotions started to hit me, like waves crashing into rocks.
to help me understand myself better, i wrote this list of “what i miss” down. i miss:
- the uncertain feeling i had when i knew that i would be sharing the Gospel up front to some strangers in Chiang Mai university with my partner.
- the prayer walk in one of the biggest red-light areas in Chiang Mai city – the thudding sound of bar music, the desperate voices of female workers in scanty dresses calling out for men on the street and the song “God of the city” i hummed as i walked along that road.
- the fun morning and afternoon singing and dancing with over 100 children in a rural school.
- the grace and mercy i received when i was sick and miserable.
- the tiny hands and thin arms that wrapped around me when we were in the classroom learning about fruits, vegetables and sea animals together. oh, the laugh we had over the word “shamato”, which was the combination of shark and tomato.
- the quiet peace in the room when we studied the Bible with former street or drug-addicted boys, those who already found redemption through Jesus.
- the people who God brought me to cross paths with them; people whose hearts sold out for God, who were willing to abandon loving families, cold and clean weather and Starbucks in every corner of town, to chase after His irrational plan.
for the past couple of months, i have told myself to not get attached to people and to stick to the surface only. and i have been holding my fort so well until now. and i realized that it is affecting my very being. i can no longer pretend that i do not care about other people nor brush the yearning in my heart aside and label it as the emotional weakness. God wants me to love DEEPLY and to invest in people’s lives for the strengthening of His body and for the advancement of His kingdom.
there is so much to live for. keeping myself in a shell did me no good. it only created bitterness and prejudice on God’s people. the Lord has taught me about the community of His lovers and the edification that comes through genuine fellowship and like-minded goal – to make Jesus known.
ditching my emotional attachment issue aside, i opened myself and my heart up to people, whom i used to consider as strangers but now friends. a walk to coffee stand. a drive to medical clinic. a belly laugh over a funny article. playing the guitar to worship the Lord with broken people made whole. and cuddling with girls who seek nothing else in life but love and acceptance.
relationships work best when we are the most vulnerable. so i learned to keep my heart on my sleeves; to dare to give while expecting nothing in return; to be courageous while sharing Christ and to have the guts to love even though i know it will somehow break my heart. it may mean hugging people when they feel discouraged, cramming impossible number of people into one tiny car, listening to their stories because you know that you are one of the very few ears that want to hear them or even trying to chew your food quickly so you will be able to translate or answer questions from sponsors or parents as clearly as possible.
every day, i am learning to give myself more and more to the world around me, while reminding myself to be filled with His love every morning and night and to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than myself,” that my “attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who,…made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” (philippians 2:3-4, 7-8)
friends, let us love the way He wants us to love. because that is how we preach God’s good news.