"Tiene una casa grande?"
Even with my painfully limited knowledge of the Spanish language, there was no doubt in my mind what 11 year old Maria was asking me. I hesitated for a moment or two, trying to decide if I wanted to tell her the truth or give my standard, "No comprendo." Her lack of frustration over my ignorance of her language was a marvel to me, and her patient and persistent efforts to make herself understood was reason enough to keep trying. This time she hit on a question I could answer if I was willing to be honest. "Si." There. My secret was out. I have a big house. Not that I'm ashamed of having a big house, or that it has any value beyond providing a comfortable place for me and my family to rest, and eat, and shower, and store all our material wealth. But sitting with Maria in her family's tiny living room, grateful for the simple hospitality of this child who knows nothing firsthand of the comforts that I have taken for granted every day of my life, I felt extremely self-conscious about my big house.
But this story hasn't even gotten started and already I have digressed.
One year ago I wouldn't have dreamed that I'd be spending a week in the Dominican Republic in October 2012. Six months ago I wouldn't have guessed that I'd be spending a week in the Dominican Republic in October 2012. Three months ago I was arguing with God about spending a week in the DR in October 2012, with Him saying, "go," and me saying, "no". One month ago I was so convinced I was about to be spending a week in the Dominican Republic that I told everyone I was going even though I still had not even one measly dollar toward the trip. Two weeks before the departure date, however, the pieces started coming together, and within seven days the funds were in place and my ticket was purchased. So like God. He just refuses to stay in that box I keep putting Him in, insistent on doing things His way for His reasons without regard to my desire for predictability. The only thing predictable about God is His faithfulness, and on that I can anchor my trust.
So on October 6, in less time than it takes to drive from Charlotte to Chattanooga, I was whisked out of my comfort zone into a world as different from mine as a tuna on rye is different from peanut butter and jelly on Wonder bread. They have the "essence of sandwich" in common, but that's pretty much where it ends. And, once again, I will never be the same.