I sat there watching Elliott as he slid down the slide, face first of course, and rolled off the end in a very dramatic barrel-roll kind of way. He got the biggest smile on his face and just laughed as he ran around to do it all over again for probably the twentieth time. He was in his own little world and only paused occasionally to wave at me, making sure I was just as impressed with him as he was. (I was, for the record :)
I admire his ability to adapt so quickly. He calls everyone his size a "friend" and doesn't think twice about those odd looks that children give each other as they observe other tiny people. He's wide-open and ambitious, and I love that.
Me, on the other hand, I felt very out of place in this little playground in the middle of the mall where moms were chatting and children screaming and babies nursing and pregnant bellies peeking out of jackets. I felt very out of place as I heard moms exchanging recipes and talking about the next play date or their most recent coupon deal. I can't remember the last time I went all-out grocery shopping, much less clipped a coupon and mom get-togethers are a rare occurrence for me.
My mind went back to last week when I had the same out-of-place feeling in a very different setting.
I was walking down the muddy embankment to wash my clothes in the Amazon river. I could hear the tall grass shaking as little lizards and, yes, snakes scurried away. I carefully eased onto the slippery "bolsa" (dock) and began rinsing my clothes in water that, when Stateside, I wouldn't even wash my dog in. As I leaned over to scoop up more water, I could feel the heat of the sun toasting my skin.
About that time a canoe full of Indians went past. I imagine that they weren't accustomed to seeing a pasty white woman scrubbing clothes on the bank of the river so they all stared, nudging one another to make sure that everyone got a good look. They literally didn't take their eyes off of me until I was out of sight. No one waved, no one smiled. They just stared. It's what Indians do.
And I felt very out of place.
I started talking to God about it.
"Um, You saw that, right God?" I asked Him. "I just want to be sure because sometimes I wonder why, if you knew that you were going to send me to the Amazon one day, that you would make me so different looking. Why would you give me light eyes and hair and skin? It's not that I'm upset about it, I just really do wonder why..."
He didn't really answer, in case you're wondering. And He didn't answer me at the playground yesterday when I asked why I felt so disconnected with other moms here in the States, even though I do look like them.
I know that part of it is due to the fact that we travel so much that I don't have a chance to connect on a deep level with other moms, here or in the Jung|e. That's a big part.
Richard says it's God's preparation for when we move deep into the Jung|e and I don't have access to constant communication and therefore I don't learn to depend on it. There's truth in that, too.
And maybe a little part of it is because God knows me really well and He knows that if I ever get too comfortable, it's hard for me to move. If I every really lock into a comfort zone, I don't make a lot of effort to go above and beyond for Him. It's just easier not to.
But whatever the reason, I know He has one. And even if I feel out of place physically, I know I'm ultimately in place in His plan. And even though it's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, His grace is sufficient.
He's just good like that.