One of our good islander friends who is a brother in the Lord got married this past week. While it was wonderful news, it also came as a surprise, as he waited until the night before the wedding to tell us about it! None of us were invited to the wedding either. In fact, none of us even knew that he had been engaged or in a relationship at all before that day!
Of course… there are many factors which all help to explain this: the engagement period was very short, it was a very small wedding held in a home, and there are many complications due to the incredible difficulty of being a Christian in a society that is completely Muslim.
And yet, in spite of knowing this, it still hurt a little. I mean, after all, we’ve been here for almost 8 months already! That’s a REALLY long time, right? I’ve been “friends” with this guy for a whole 4 to 5 months at least! Weren’t we closer than that?
And so, I come face to face with a little bit of truth: No, we really aren’t that close yet. And, of course, there are reasons for that as well: Language barriers, culture barriers, separate jobs and duties in lives that keep us apart, etc…
One of my greatest hopes here is to dig deeper in my relationships, to get to a place of closeness with my islander friends. Yet, looking at the barriers, sometimes it seems soimpossibly far off.
Trust, on this island, seems harder to find than good peanut butter, and THAT is saying something.
So, naturally, I am impatient. I want to speak the language – FLUENTLY and RIGHT NOW. I want my language lessons to stop cancelling! I want to have good and convenient opportunities to build relationships with people, in ways that I am comfortable with.
But it doesn’t work like that. Language learning and relationships take time and effort. This is the life we have chosen.
Seraphina is at the awkward stage now where she is getting too heavy to carry everywhere, and doesn’t quite walk perfectly on her own. And so, I hold her hand and we walk together. Sometimes, she stops and holds her hands up to me, asking to be carried, and I have to shake my head and offer my hand to hold as she walks a bit further. Thankfully, she is amazing and doesn’t throw temper tantrums when I do this. Usually, she just takes my hand and keeps walking, even though she is tired. And so, my not-quite 2 year old daughter is my role-model right now.
For now, it’s just time to take God’s hand and keep walking, knowing that it may be a long road ahead.