Dilate, Oh My Heart

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In adventure, you always know there will be an element of surprise. But when the very nature of the surprise is, indeed, a surprise…that is where the true adventure begins. Stranded on the top of a mountain in an unfamiliar country wearing a pretty, pink dress is a cute idea for pictures on Pinterest, but it is rather stressful in real life. It was one of those moments I knew I would be able to look back on, but in the moment, there was no escaping.

“No taxi today. There is traffic jam,” the Indian Malaysian cab driver told me.

Really? No taxis at all? Okay, then. My travel adventure buddy, Elizabeth, found a safe-looking trio from England: Pete, Aunt Shirley, and Aunt Shirley’s friend to take us down the mountain to the nearest village where there were allegedly taxis (there were not). While it is ever so fun to shock people with the term “hitchhiking,” the truth is I felt more relaxed with those three in their car than I did the majority of the trip. It was a restful fifteen minutes in a stranger’s car, even though I am captain of “stranger danger awareness.” Funny how God protects us.

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The day continued with miles of walking, hoping, praying to beat the sun and avoid those annoying rogues who called us charming names such as “white rose.” I have blondish hair and E has reddish hair. Neither of us pass 5’ 1.” Clearly we are twins, or so everyone thought. And we might as well have been wearing signs that said, “Hello! Look over here!” There were about three phases of various emotions I dealt with when being whistled at, yelled at, and approached: fear, annoyance mixed with amusement, and anger. At home on Guam, I am accustomed to being a minority, but it is wearisome to be marginalized.

And speaking of that, never in my life had I been surrounded by head-coverings and veils that only allowed for a woman to peer out through a narrow slit of cloth. I found myself desperate to make eye contact with them, determined to see them for more than a body with a black tent, attached to their husbands. There were others, of course, with bright and glitzy coverings who laughed freely and were so lovely.

I know they thought I was a wild child in my spaghetti straps and free-flowing hair. However, there were several Muslim teenagers who asked for photos with us. Their smiles, innocence, and “pleases” caused us to consent. My shoulders rubbed against theirs, and I remembered that Jesus loves them, too. Then my heart expanded and cracked a little more. That keeps happening.

Whenever my heart swells, it tears at the seams. It dilates. I think that is how God intends for it to be. He lets us touch, see, experience so that our hearts inflate with His love and are then torn, reminding us of the pain that these lovelies do not know Him. And we should talk to Him about it.

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“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37b-40)

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

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