February 01, 2011

Moments of clarity

Sometimes I don't have the kids with me.  It is rare, but it does happen.  In these times, I can use my eyes for something other than making sure Brave doesn't jump off a precipice, and my ears for something other than discerning which brother started it, and my brain for something other than talking myself out of running screaming through the streets.

In these sweet, brief moments of clarity it occurs to me that I actually live here - that we are actually doing this - and that we don't know when we will again call America home.  As I walked to the fruit stand the other day, sans the kiddos, I noticed the enormous ladies underpants hanging shamelessly from the bushes to dry.  I noticed the old men huddled around a low game table in their wool hats, quietly anticipating the game player's next move.  I noticed at that moment that everyone has black hair. A whole nation with the same hair color!  How funny that a person can live in a place for over 2 1/2 years and miss the most glaring details on account of the incessant duties of motherhood.  How funny that right under my nose, while I was boiling pacifiers and doling out time-outs, my husband learned an Eastern language - enough to joke around, share his testimony, and describe sa1vation.

Um...I'm talking about Daniel Rupp, people, rattling off  chings and chongs like some kind of kung fu movie.  Kind of surreal, don't you think?

Then there are the kids, my personal missi0n field, who are growing up in the most peculiar context.  They eat their fair share of pizza (which was Brave's first word, in fact), and they open presents on Christmas morning, but they also eat oysters and use chopsticks and hail taxis and ride motorbikes under tarps in the rain.  They know how to operate elevators and when it is ok to remove their seatbelts on the airplane.  They know how far away America is, and why we are living here, and what is most important.  Bright, who not only wants to be a helicopter pilot, but also an astronaut, a past0r, and a forklift driver, said to me the other day, "Mom, I better learn the language of whichever country I'm going to live in when I grow up, so I can tell them about Je$us in a way that they will understand."

These moments of clarity come and go.  I bought the fruit the other day and returned home to three squalling sons, one poopy diaper, and a to-do list the size of The Great Wall of China.  But in these moments I am filled with awe.  I live where children squat and deficate on the sidewalk, where pigs are kept as house pets, where daughters would rather die than shame their families, and where the dirt is as red as the flag that flies in the city square.