Friday, May 20, 2011

double life

Sometimes I feel like I have two completely separate lives--my American life and my Cambodian life.
In my American life I have family and friends. I have hobbies. I have things that I like to do and have had a myriad of experiences. I love to wear jeans and flip flops, to drive with the windows down and sing with the radio, to bake and create new things in the kitchen, to curl up with a good book. In America I look forward to summertime with fresh strawberries and sweet corn, long days full of sunshine, morning runs down quiet streets. I look forward to bonfires and hoodies in autumn. I suffer through the winter months drinking as much hot tea and hot chocolate as possible. I look forward to time with family at Thanksgiving and Christmas devouring green bean casserole and scalloped potatoes and pumpkin pie. I look forward to spring and the green buds on the trees, the first daffodils and tulips.
In my Cambodian life I have "family" and friends. I have things that I like to do and have had a myriad of experiences here, too. I love sitting on the floor and sharing food with people. I love leaving my shoes at the door before going into someone's house (including my own). I love buying mangoes and pomelos along the street. I love weaving through the organized chaos on my moto, but I don't love having helmet hair every day of my life. The seasons are different here. I look forward to the season of delicious mangoes and lychee and mangosteen and papaya, but I don't enjoy the perpetual state of sweat that accompanies it. I look forward to the relief that comes with rain, the thunder and the sound of rain on tin roofs as I go to sleep at night. I look forward to the "cool" season when I might actually be tempted to put on a hoodie and drink some hot chocolate.
The thing that is interesting to me in all of this is that my lives often seem so very separate. My roommate and I had a conversation about things we used to do/wear in America, and it was really funny because they were things we definitely would not have guessed about the other because we live differently here. We have helmet hair here, not real hairstyles. We wear clothes that hide sweat here, not trendy clothes. We wear flip flops pretty much every day, not cute flats or fashionable boots. We lack hobbies because we are either too busy to do things or it is too hard to find materials to do them or takes too much effort (or finances) to do it. The people we love here and spend our time with have never met, and in some cases barely speak the same language as, the people we love and would spend time with in America.
Sometimes I love my double life. I love knowing that I have friends on both sides of the world, but the problem with that lies in that there is always someone to miss. And, there are very few people, if any, who understand that it isn't really a double life but two completely different sides of the same life...and that is difficult to explain or understand...
Regardless, I am so blessed and so thankful for my life, for all its uniqueness, for all its facets, for all the opportunities to share with so many wonderful people of all nations and colors and languages...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

too much

Have you ever wondered how much is too much?
Lately, I have found myself wondering if "too much" really exists, if it is even possible.

Is it possible to give too much?
Is it possible to show too much mercy?
Is it possible to offer too much grace?
Is it possible to love too much?
Is it possible to care too much?

I have been pondering these questions and thinking about my Savior, thinking about what He did and what He asks of me. If I had a nickel (or 100 riel) for every time I have heard someone say that they admire my "sacrifice" or the work that I am doing, I would be a wealthy woman. Though, if I did have that extra money, I doubt it would stick around too long...there are just too many places to sow it. My whole point is this:

I am not anything spectacular. I am but dust. I am a sinner who is thankful that God's mercies are new every morning. I have the wonderful love of my blessed Redeemer way down in the depths of my heart. And, that blessed Redeemer went to hell and back to save me. So, who am I to even suggest that anything He asks me to do is too much?

"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." ~ John 15:12

Monday, May 9, 2011


What does real hunger look like?

I see hunger pretty much daily. I see women with sunken cheeks tote around babies with orange-frosted hair and bald patches while they carry a small metal bowl, usually empty. I see little boys trifle through rubbish bins to pull out half empty bags of sugar cane juice. I see old men with wrinkled faces and squinting eyes squat in the shade with palms together begging from passersby. I see children on the top of the garbage heap digging for bits of leftover rice. Sometimes I have little boys look into my grocery bags and then look at me with their cloudy brown eyes.

But, this isn't the only kind of hunger I see. As I was sitting in church yesterday, I was in awe of the hunger in that room. I was in a room surrounded by Khmer people, most of them young adults, and they were hungry. They were hungry for the Creator of the universe, for the Lover of their souls. And, I was humbled because I want to be that hungry for the things of the Lord. I want to know and live as though He is my daily bread, the air I breathe, my satisfaction.

"God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied." ~ Matthew 5:6