Let me just begin by saying that it is hotter than BLAZES in Qingdao right now. It’s not that the temperature is so high, it’s the gosh darn humidity. The weather can appear to be perfectly lovely, nice and warm with a gentle breeze off the Yellow Sea, and then BLAM! Humidity punches you in the face and puts you in a chokehold. Is it possible for air to be chunky? Because it sure feels chunky here sometimes and it makes it hard to breathe. It’s also quite dirty. There’s lots of dust in the air and when it’s mixed with the moisture it becomes a lovely dust particle skin treatment that you get under your fingernails when you scratch all your mosquito bites. I guess it could be considered a kind of exfoliating. There are probably spas here that market it to gullible foreigners.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I drove. The problem is all the walking. I can leave my lovely air-conditioned home, walk ten minutes to my lovely air-conditioned school, and by the time I’m there I find myself soaking wet with misshapen, droopy clothes, hair stuck to my neck and face, and an overall sense of nasty, sweaty grossness. It’s unfortunate. I think I prefer to be cold. I’m much more comfortable bundled and chilly than I am sweaty and overheated.
You know what Chinese men do when they get hot?
If only I had no shame…
So, I’ve been in China for six months. July 13 was my anniversary and I celebrated by having an emotional meltdown (I think that’s the standard six month anniversary gift actually, like gold on your 50th). My mom and I were skyping and the topic of dads came up. I have a long and sordid dad story and the Lord has been so gracious and caring and present in that daddy place throughout my life. I have been spared so much, but I am not without my father issues and on this day they came welling out of me in dramatic sobs. My poor mom, she was confined to a computer screen and, I’m sure, felt rather helpless in bringing me sufficient comfort.
It’s interesting the things that Jesus is addressing in my life while I’m here. I feel quite vulnerable in this foreign land without all my people; without my fallbacks and comforts; without my hideouts where I can avoid dealing with hard things. It’s like I’m being stripped bare. God is peeling back my facades and uncovering all the things I’ve camouflaged with optimism and sunshine and cheerfulness. He’s asking me to be honest. He’s asking me to confront unmet expectations and come to terms with the possibility that they may only be resolved and/or fulfilled in Him. And He’s asking me to be okay with that.
It makes me feel like a pouty three year-old who’s upset about not getting her way. I’ve shrouded my disappointment in compliance, but it’s still there. Underneath all the “it’s okays” and “I don’t minds” I’m discovering this stubborn, clinging part of myself. It’s not angry or resentful, it’s resolute. There is a part of me that refuses to let go of hope. Hope is not bad, but this hope is on my terms. And it’s primarily related to my dad. The three year-old in me is still waiting for the magical father-daughter reunion. She is still looking out the window hoping her daddy-knight-in-shining-armor will ride up on his horse and take her away with him. She is still imagining he wants her.
I wish I could send in 30 year-old Jaime to have a good, rational discussion with her, but there’s nothing rational or relenting about this girl’s hope. It’s something that only Jesus can address. It’s something only He can touch and transform into the kind of hope that brings healing and wholeness.
And I’m okay with that.
I’ve got a few more months in China and I’m sure I have a whole mess of things God wants to address in me. My heart is open and I’m okay with whatever He says because He knows best.
But I’m still not okay with the humidity.