It's just me and the babies this week. Mimi is at an archeological dig for the week, maybe longer. The other baby is back this week, and not happy about leaving his mama. Mimi's mom & Lori help out when I need it, which is great. The other baby doesn't like any females besides his mama. I'll hold him, rock him, pat him, and he cries and whimpers. A man walks in and picks him up, and he's immediately quiet.
When the babies are both asleep or quiet, I have a lot of time to do whatever. I've gotten a lot of Algebra 2 done, read a lot of blogs, read some books, and watched a few movies.
This morning was even more boring that usual. Bethany, one of the people I met, came and hung out with me today. She kept me company and helped with the boredom.
Tomorrow the older kids in childcare are going to a movie. Bethany, her sister, & I are gonna go too. The children are going to watch Toy Story 3. We may watch that with them, but we may end up seeing something else. I hope that Despicable Me is out here. I can't wait to watch it. My family says that it's great.
The other baby lives in Amsterdam. I want to move back there so badly. Even though I don't want to leave everyone in Muncie, I'm so tired of living in America. That's the reason I wanted to go to England this summer. I wanted to leave America, see old places through new eyes, be in an unfamiliar place. I would love to live here, especially now that I have friends here. I could live here, but only if it rained. Holland is perfect. It has rain, outdoor markets, cheap flowers, bikes, narrow European streets, beautiful towns, people I love. I want to go back there so badly. My summer overseas was supposed to help with my want to move. Instead, it's making it worse. My mom and I had an agreement that if the Netherlands won the World Cup, we would move back. Mom, we still can move even though they lost.
A few times, my mom has told me that I need to write about what God is teaching me this summer.
I started thinking. What has he taught me? Have I listened? Am I learning anything?
In Dubai, one day our youth leader passed around a few piles of cards. The cards were about twice as big as playing cards. On the face side was a picture, different for each card. On the other side, a generic design. He held the cards up, telling us that he would pass them around and he wanted us each to choose one that symbolized our relationship with God. When they came to me, I looked through them. I didn't think that I understood what he meant. How was a picture supposed to stand for my relationship with God?
I ended up choosing a picture of five people. It shows only their waists down, leaning up against a brick wall. Two of them are women, wearing fancy skirts and dresses, standing up in strappy high heels. Next to each of them there's a man, in dress pants and shoes. The fifth person: He's standing in the middle of the couples, wearing worn-out jeans with a hole in one knee. He has both hands stuck in his pockets, his old red Converse next to the dress shoes and heels of the others.
I chose my picture and shoved it into the middle of my Crazy Love book.
I didn't find it until later.
I was looking at it that night in our room and tried to think of a reason I chose it. I couldn't come up with anything better than liking it. I liked it because I liked the red shoes, I liked the hidden stories in the picture.
The picture showed only part of the story. I wondered what was happening in the picture. Why was an under-dressed man standing with two couples in dress clothes? Why were they standing by a brick wall? What was the rest of the story?
What is everyone's story?
On the elevator today, a woman asked Bethany and I if we spoke Arabic. I responded in my limited Arabic, telling her that we spoke very little. She asked where we were from. As she stepped off on the third floor, she welcomed us to her country and told us that if we needed anything, she was there.
What is her story?
When we were walking home from the office with the baby a few days ago, a man passed by us on the road. He was pushing a stroller covered with a blanket. When he walked past me, he gestured to the baby in my stroller and scolded me for not having him covered from the sun.
What is his story?
The past two mornings as we've gone up to the fifth floor, an American man has gotten on with us. He doesn't say much to us, just rides the elevator past our floor. Why is he here?
What is his story?
I think that I'm learning about people, and about their stories. I think that I'm learning that investing time in people and relationships, in hearing their stories and sharing yours, you can learn a lot about God.
I think that I'm learning more about God's story. I'm re-learning about how much I love the world, and how much I want the people to learn God's story. I wonder about my part in that story. What was God thinking when he sent me here? What part do I play, here and in Muncie, in that story? If I had gone to England, it would have been more touristy and less work, but would I have learned as much? How would my story, which is really just a small part in God's story, change if I hadn't come here?
What is your story?