Round and round in my head goes the life-long search to find significance, to belong to a place, to matter to others. I speed-walk and sweat, working hard to connect what I know in my head to the depths of my heart.
The Ramadan fast has hampered the late-afternoon exercising at this popular park in this Muslim-majority town, but my thoughts and rhythm are still interrupted by dozens of greetings from other Indonesians. I stick out with my white skin and blonde children. I simply can’t go unnoticed, and I wave and smile and sometimes stop to let someone touch my child while sweat drips off my nose and thoughts sink deep.
I smile, too, at this strange reversal of my life, having grown up feeling unnoticed, unknown in a world of constant moves, always the new person who had to work really hard to fit in, practically begging people to be my friend, though I knew I would soon leave them or them leave me.
Now the shouted English words, “I love you!” from Indonesians blend into the honks and the clangs and the mosque calls of this life of mine on the other side of the world. I walk down the road and people invite me into their homes. If I leave my house, people practically beg to be my friend. I suppose I should be annoyed and I hear other westerners wishing people would leave them alone. But I’ve been there and don’t want to go back.
Even if I don’t leave my house, I can’t go unnoticed, as my baby girl and my preschool –aged son laugh hilariously at my stupid jokes, ask me for snuggles, favor me above everyone and want to be with me all the time to the point where I live tired, but honored.
One recent night, when my doubts hounded me, I pulled out from my night stand drawer the words from a love note from my husband—words he repeats often to me, words I am growing to believe.
Another day, a friend called and encouraged me in the very thing that prompted my day’s rut of a struggle. I tucked away her words that fit perfectly and I pull them out again now to add to the other round-and-round thoughts.
I pull, too, from the truth-words written to me by the One who saves me from myself. This morning, he called me “chosen.” He reminded me that I belong to Him now. That it’s time for my life to be light and not darkness.
I wipe away the sweat and cast aside the lies, walking toward the truth and the hope and the light. My baby turns her head up to me and smiles and I tell her she is mine, even as I choose to believe I am His.