Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)
- TITLE: Groundhog Day?
By Suzanne R
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Today I submitted my resignation. I have a dream job, but all good things come to an end. Can’t the bustling crowds see that my world is undergoing major change … yet again? It is a glorious afternoon, sipping a cappuccino at a harbourside café in Sydney, watching the sun set behind the Harbour Bridge, and the ferries leaving their trails of white froth as they come and go. I sit here with friends, and we’re dreaming big! The focus of our dreams, and the reason for my resignation, is a small Chinese province of ‘only’ 1 ½ times the population of my homeland. It has been ten years to the day since I first left Australia to make a life in China. It’s all beginning again.
7th April 1995
I gaze down on our beautiful harbour city from the air, feeling very small. Will I ever be back? Today is the culmination of years of preparation. The support of people is overwhelming. I feel as though I’m gently lifted up on a cloud instead of rocketing through the air on a jumbo. Yet at the same time, I fear bursting through the cloud, crashing to the ground, thereby disappointing so many good, generous people. My head tells me that I’m in God’s hands and need fear nothing. My heart already feels the icy grip of loneliness and the paralyzing fear of failure. Just hours ago, I was with family and friends, confident that I was about to change the world. Now I’m acutely aware that I’m just one little person out here in a very big world.
I strengthen my resolve. Today, not only do I give up my homeland of 27 years, but I also surrender coffee and the hope of a man in my life. Everyone knows that my adopted homeland, China, only has tea and Bible women!
Ten years … everything is different and yet nothing has changed. Older and wiser, perhaps, I look back on a decade of being a little person in God’s hands - eight years in China, and two in Australia.
Chinese is a rich, beautiful language, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning it. Much as I enjoy life here, though, at times it has been difficult and desperately lonely as I’ve struggled to fit into cultures not my own. Nevertheless, time after time, I’ve seen God provide friends, finances, visitors from home and even coffee!
When I left Australia one decade ago, I genuinely feared failure. Through living in China, God has cured me of that! After you’ve failed, life goes on.
I was determined to ‘become Chinese’. I’ve had to accept that I never will be an insider, although still aim to be as Chinese as a big-nosed, blue-eyed foreigner can be.
I was determined to ‘change the world’. I’ve come to realize, however, that I’m one little person in an enormous mass of humanity. The task is way beyond me. Yet God has given me the privilege of a small part in His work.
I was determined to be an exemplary cross-cultural worker, a modern-day Hudson Taylor. One day, I would write my memoirs as a guide to the generations behind me. I’ve had some interesting experiences, though, and through them, learned that nothing I do has any value outside of relationships with God and the people around me. Nothing!
Ten years down the track, there are several Australians on the verge of joining me in that exotic land. This brings a huge grin to my face. I still have doubts about my abilities, and fear letting down those who send me and those who will join me. I will certainly miss the relationships I’ve formed during these two years back at home. Yet I prepare to return, confident in God’s presence there as always.
I’m older and wiser now. I no longer have resolutions to give up coffee or men for God. In fact, they’ve built a lovely little coffee shop in ‘my’ town in China. You can even buy cappuccinos, served with a rosebud on top. I have no aspirations to change the world, or even my own small corner of it. The only thing to which I aspire is good relationships, first with God and then with those around me.
7th April 2015 – this is as yet a blank page. I wonder what words my diary will contain then? The next decade, as the last, is in our Lord’s hands – thank God!
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