I sat in my room today, feeling a cool China breeze blow through my window, staring out at a gray sky. I am home sick with the flu/a cold and as people take colds seriously here, I am ordered to rest so I don't infect any of my little ones.
As I lay on my bed editing photos and listening to Chinese Christmas music, I thought about the map that hangs on my wall. It is of the world, all the country maps, and timezones, surround by photos of my loved ones. I stopped as I realized how symbolic it is of my life.
The photos (unpurposefully) form a heart around the globe. Ironic. Here I am living in China. I have traveled to several places in this world (each highlighted on the map) and I have loved/do love it. But all those people in those photographs are not here. My heart has been stolen by this world, by it's needs, and it's people. But it is also so taken with people back home, in America.
Sometimes I ask why I have been brought here. Why me, an art major, with no experience teaching, who struggled in school, who dearly loves family and friends, would leave all that behind and come to China to do the very thing I don't know? Why would I choose to leave the culture I was born in and the familiarity, security, and freedom of home? Why has my heart been wrapped around this world only to have to say goodbye and leave some of the things I care about most?
The title of my senior show at Biola came to my mind: A PART. Also a few choruses from an old garage worship band I loved in highschool called Vella, began to stream from my computer:
And I have fallen for you
God there is no one else
I have left, I am here, because I am a part of something greater - we all are. But I am also apart from many people I deeply love. It is hard at times. It is lonely at times. My heart has been wrapped around this world, it's countries, it's cultures, it's languages, and it's lost souls. But it has also been wrapped around people I dearly love in America. Sometimes it feels like it's being stretched too far, that the distance is too great to bear alone. But then I remember truth and words like what Vella sings:
And I will follow you
With all that I am
I will run to you Lord
With every breath I breathe
I give to you
You're the only thing I want
If that is what being in China is all about for me then it's worth it. If going, being, serving, and falling in love with people all over is all about leading me back to Him, then it is worth it. His heart broke first for this world and as his follower, mine will too. That sometimes means saying goodbye, being alone, being foreign, being white in a sea of yellow. But it's worth it.
I miss: fall leaves, the smell of home, pine trees, San Diego beaches, raw vegetables, Mexican food, hugs, being known.
I love: Asian smiles, eating with chopsticks, Shantou sunrises, tea, my school, my students, Chinese markets, unexpected gifts from new friends.
It's worth it. So very worth it.