So, culture shock. I thought I would experience culture shock when I first arrived nearly a month ago, or when I returned to the "Western" world, but instead, it's the dichotomy of cultures within this country that is so strange.
For our day off, the team has been going to one of the ENORMOUS malls here. And still, I have never felt so unsettled or uncomfortable in all my life as I do here, on a day that is supposed to be restful. It's not even the strangeness of the disparity between the rich and poor here that really unsettles me. Even with our day to day life working in a slum, clearing away years' worth of trash and filth from people's makeshift homes or trying to bring any sort of aid to a people with nothing, I thought I would enjoy sitting in air conditioning, reading and drinking coffee.
But instead, this chaotic mess of lights and sound and taste makes me want to bury my head beneath something thick and heavy. I have more than once today wished I was back at the slum, talking to Ross or just sitting with people there. Weird. John told me that he never felt so alive as when he was doing his outreach, and I see exactly what he means. At first I thought he just meant "raw" as in, everything was stripped away, and his heart was newly hurt and newly healed and the sin that so easily entangles was for once being left behind. But I think he meant that his heart and soul were alive in the reality that this life does not satisfy.
We were made for something else.
I can feel my eyes glaze over and my heart quicken as I stare at the brightly lit stores here. And it seems like I am never so hungry as I am here, looking at 23432 restaurants which boast of cuisine from all over the world: sweet, spicy, salty, exotic, decadent. And still, my soul is an unrest. Nothing here satisfies. I can't buy enough. I can't taste enough. I can't see enough.
Yesterday I wrote in my journal that the Lord would 'ruin' me for the ordinary in this life. And, apparently, He does answer prayer. Because here, I feel ruined. I am alive to the fact that He satisfies like nothing can or ever will. Spending hours fighting traffic in exhausting heat just to get to our slum to give a hug or bring something to eat or a shirt to wear seems so much more restful right now than any of this that surrounds me right now.
And so, I am alive. I am alive to something else. I am alive to something other than just a 'new me.' I am live to Him and His heart.
It is there that my soul has found rest.