The best surprise of my trip to Taiwan so far has been meeting up with an old friend from college who recently married a Taiwanese guy and has settled down here.
New Year’s Day, the four of us (my friend, her husband, another college friend, and I) talked in a restaurant for SEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT! That’s definitely a personal record. Long after our food had been eaten and our table cleared, we sipped green tea from our dainty tea cups, chatting in the empty restaurant until a waiter finally kicked us out around 9pm. Then we went out to find more food.
To me, this marathon of a conversation was more exciting than all the fireworks, museum exhibits, high-speed elevators, and high-speed trains I’ve experienced here. I can’t say it enough: I love deep conversations.
During some bathroom breaks, my friend and I had some extended chats in the hallway, and I was shocked to realize I was encountering someone from my previous life who was on the same page as me. She had ended up in Asia. Just like me. We weren’t here to travel or make quick cash or have a fun experience. We were here to stay, to build a life.
I used to fear that I would end up living in “white surburbia.”
Comfortable. Sheltered. Away from all the darkness and suffering in the world. Living in a nice house with a nice husband and kids seemed like what I should want. But for me, it didn’t feel like enough. I couldn’t help feeling like life was supposed to be about more than finding success for myself and my small family unit.
It had to be about something more.
This past year, as I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, I felt desperate to find a deeper purpose than becoming financially independent or meeting someone I wanted to marry. Various ideas crossed my mind (like moving into inner city Baltimore and getting involved in something gritty and important), but I longed to feel called instead of just throwing stuff against a wall to see what stuck. Books I read about “calling” essentially told me that I should use my common sense, leaving me with the sense that my desire for a personal communication from God about my future was unreasonable.
Now all that has changed.
So I may be sacrificing a lot in deciding to stay in Asia.
I may be sacrificing nearness to my family, career connections back home, and the comforts of belonging. I may be sacrificing being understood by those I love most. But I no longer fear ending up comfortable and complacent. I no longer feel like I have to make a calling for myself. I know I am right where I am supposed to be.
Encountering someone else whose life path strangely paralleled mine strangely reassured me.
I don’t know the details of my future yet, but I do know that it is going to be an adventure and that God is going to lead the way. And that is all I ever wanted.