20 October 2016

Christine-That-Was

I've been cleaning out my email inbox. (Don't be impressed; they're making me do it. Let's face it, that's how all my cleaning happens.) I'm deleting lots of stuff that's pointless: Zulily offers, all-staff updates, people who were trying to get flights when I was scheduling.

But there's some good stuff in here, too. It chronicles Christine-That-Was: all the things she was afraid of before she got here. The stuff she worried about in language school--she sent pictures of her bug bites to the advice nurse. The little things I did for others; the big things they did for me.

Boy, she hardly knew anything.

I'm not picking on Christine-That-Was...you bring a lot of culture when you become a missionary. Take my toaster as an example. I thought you needed a toaster. I thought a toaster was just an indispensable thing that every civilized person must have for those breakfasts when you just cannot pour yourself a bowl of cereal. (Probably because your wife forgot to reconstitute the milk last night.) But you know what? My toaster broke, and when it did, I realized that I hadn't used it in six months because it was such a power hog. And you know what? You can toast bread in a pan...on the stove.

Really.

I'm not a "third culture kid," but the idea remains solid--you build a personal culture when you leave your own. It's a little bit of everywhere you've loved. When we returned to Haiti after our first furlough, I was sitting in the parking lot of the hardware store, waiting for David. And the wind was moving through the trees. It hisses, you know. It doesn't woosh or whisper. It's not a sinister hiss, but it's a hiss nonetheless. And I'd missed it, I'd ached to hear that sound, without realizing it. How did that happen?

When did I become a real missionary?

I better go reconstitute some milk.

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