Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eat like a third grader, think like a bohemian, look like an Asian... (aka "So Bright!")

"No, see, if the bigger number is negative, the sum or the difference will be negative..."
"Why do you say, 'What have you eaten lately?' as a greeting in  Burmese again?"
"Ok, the eardrum is like a drum. So when you hit a drum, what happens?"
"When you have 'he' and 'she,' what do you always add to the present tense verb?"

Believe it or not, all of these conversations were happening simultaneously last night, as my neighbor, Kelsey, and I tutored our Burmese teenagers at #711. I had a girl on one side of me working on Algebra, while her brother sat on the other side of me working on Neuorology, and their sister was sitting across from me with Kelsey working on languages. It was crazy, slightly chaotic, a bit challenging, just enough to get my heartrate up a little... just the way I like to work! :)

After the kids finished homework and left, I decided to stay and spend some rare quiet moments with Kelsey. She's a pretty awesome girl who gets my sense of humor, and her taste in music makes her my brother's musical soulmate. And she's amazingly artsy, too... the other night she played this big Chinese wood instrument that had incredible bass notes, and then gave me a painting she made with doilies. She spent a year in China and loves Asian stuff... hence her cute haircut that makes her look a bit Chinese...

So we sat together, eating an epic meal of canned applesauce and easy mac 'n cheese. We talked about how, according to general society we don't really know who we are... interns? teachers? missionaries? youth workers? social workers? What is our title or job description? We are here to love and be a light!

"I'm just trying... to follow God... and do what he calls me to do... and I don't know... what that makes me, though..." she said in her funny, ellipses-filled, thoughtful way.

"So why does the world like to define us by what we do? Why can't we just be?" I asked in my most hippy-philosophical tone. This kind of meal makes me feel very philosophical... like an incredibly wise third grader...

"I know, right? ...Only... I think it's actually an American culture thing... Americans are just... all about work..." Kelsey, responded in kind.

We agreed that our most important job is to be obedient to the Lord, and to live our lives with eternity as our goal.

The next song on my playlist is "So Bright" by Superchick... I know, I can't resist a little girl-power band now and then. My favorite line in this song is:

"Live today through the future's lens,
don't wanna wish you could rewind and play it again."

It makes me think of Kelsey, and Hannah, and Pam, and Essie, and the other Superchicks in my life, who are living their lives not for themselves but for the Lord, not with immediate pleasures in mind but eternal glory that far outweighs all the rest. I hope this is a reflection of my life too. So our job descriptions may just say "It's Complicated..." So our degrees may have very little to do with the way we spend our time... So we may look to the world like we're having an identity crisis... We know that our lives have meaning and purpose, and our main dream is to get to the end and see how God has led us and used us to bring people to know him more and bring glory to his name.