A gecko has found his comfort residing in my bathroom. When I brush my teeth, I see two sets of eyes: my own in the mirror, his in my peripheral. Other times, I just see his back legs and tail squirm upwards into a small opening between the wall and the trimming…which must mean that there is a small opening in my ceiling that I cannot see. I happen to know a thing or two about pest control, so I am well aware that mice and roaches could also squeeze their way through this crevice if they desire to do so.
The differences in my environment here and my environment at home are countless. And also countless are the purposes that these differences serve.
The first purpose is also most immediate: entertainment for all my hundreds of new friends. At least twice daily I hear the dramatic gasp of a miniature actor or actress, soon followed by an exclamation in broken English.
"Tita May-gone! Cock-o-roach!"
Somewhere between my swift move from the ground I walk on to the chair I soon stand on and me figuring out that it was all another joke, the actor and all of his co-stars share in an intense session of laughter. That is something I will never be in the audience to experience.
Saying 'Tita' before saying someone's name is very normal here. It refers to that person as being an older sister or somewhat in the role of a cousin. I haven't yet heard my first name stand alone…it just isn't cultural. Some call me 'Ante May-gone' and I refer to the Filipino staff as my 'Ante'. Saying 'Ante' refers to that person as being in the role of an Aunt. I love that. The sense of community here runs deep enough to pass on and share the unity you find in a family. 'Tita' and 'Ante' are cultural. 'May-gone' is my name with an accent. 'Cock-o-roach' is accent.
(May-gone rhymes with Baygone which is cockroach killer…just as a side note.)
When I wrote this first part, it was Wednesday night. I was in my bedroom that I posted pictures of in one of the first albums. It is quite spacey. And that bathroom is sort of a tight space, but never worthy of a complaint…not even when I lose in a staring contest with the gecko.
The second and third purposes were going to be separated initially. The second was going to be something about the breaking down of normality. How much of a blessing it is for me to experience these differences no matter how out-of-my-comfort-zone or creepy-crawly they may be. The third was going to be something about how I am okay with everything. And the glory in that. I jump when I am lied to and told that there is a cockroach running around below me, but every step of this has been painted to perfection for its final picture. Cock-o-roaches and all. Somehow God has given me the eyes to see that…and love it even.
The reason why the second and third purposes were going to be separated initially was because I went to bed on Wednesday night glorying in all of the changes and adaptations that are having to take place within me externally. And the ability and strength I have internally discovered to be able to do so. I smiled myself to sleep.
On Thursday morning I woke up and went to a meeting with Jeff Long. He is the director of everything, everywhere here. He told me good news, there are two new social workers starting at the Children's home this week. This was a necessity because there are several new kids coming to stay at the home in upcoming weeks. In order for there to be enough space for the new staff, my current bedroom needs to be made into one with the office on the other side of its wall. So I needed to relocate. That afternoon. To an old office room that was currently being used as quarantine for the boys with Mumps. They, too, were relocating.
As I packed for the small move to the other side of the Children's home, I started to realize the wondrous size of the wardrobe I had been using. Now I think it might have been able to lead to Narnia. But I never noticed before. And as I continued to pack, I started to realize the beauty in the breezes coming from the fans mounted directly above me, to my left, and to my right. Now I remember it feeling similar to really good air conditioning. But I never noticed before. And as I continued to pack, I looked over to my bathroom and said goodbye to my roommate. I zipped up the last of my things and walked across the home to my new room.
I don't know how to explain the change of emotion. I smiled myself to sleep because I was giddy about the reality of God. And as I walked into my new bedroom, I was silenced by the seriousness of God. I see so much glory in Him allowing me one night to realize and be excited that I am ready and able for things that cause immediate fear, but strength soon to follow.
This isn't really about critters or the size of a room…at all. But everything that happened was so personal and metaphorical to the way that God is moving in my life right now.
My new room is twice and a half the size of my bed. And the length of my room fits my bed end-to-end. My storage space is my suitcases and a shelf a foot down from the ceiling that I put some of my clothing on. At the same place my toilet sits in my new bathroom, my shower showers. There is a hole in the wall, right at the foot of my bed. There is a plank of wood that covers the hole, but the measurements are a bit off at times. The wall in which this hole is a part of, is also the wall the window is a part of. I look out the window to a narrow path behind the Children's home. The view isn't anything. But nightlife in the streets of Manila pour in. Karaoke, street vendors calling out their sales, dogs fighting, cats crying, roosters continuous crowing…and I don't have a single fan, so the windows stay open. But I find myself loving the sounds and singing their melodies, loving the smells. I love the unsightly view. I don't mind the heat. There is a lot of breaking down in a lot of different ways. But I am drenched with peace and anticipation. I know that I am being shaped and prepared…and driven by purpose. And living my life. And advancing in my already-planned-out story.