Do as the Scots do.
I just got back from having “tea” with a delightful elderly woman and some of the Chinese girls I met at church. And when I say “tea,” I mean a three course meal with tea and more dessert at the end, followed by a second round of tea with toast and biscuits. The starter was a fruit salad, the main course was baked chicken, and the dessert was cream-puffs and ice cream. This woman, Rita, spoiled me severely. I’m pretty sure I had at least six cups of tea, copious amounts of chocolate and sweets, and I left completely satisfied and a wee bit sleepy! We talked a lot about Rita’s life, faith, America, and China… Rita has been following the Lord “for a hundred years,” she says, but really since she was twenty-two. Her house is decorated with multiple Bible verses, and she started our tea with a prayer of thanksgiving. It was wonderful to be in her house, to be invited in to share the afternoon with her. God is good.
Tomorrow, I’m taking part in another Scottish ritual of sorts: watching the Scotland verses England Rugby match! I’ve never seen Rugby before (except on that one episode of friends where Ross gets totally destroyed…), so I’m really excited to watch the game with some committed fans — Let’s go Scotland!
Have I mentioned yet how much I love living here? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about traveling, about getting out to sight-see and explore the different touristy areas of Scotland… I would still like to do these things, but they just don’t feel like a priority to me right now. Is that bad? For the first month I was here, I would stress out about all the places I needed to go, the things I needed to see, and all the fun trips my peers were planning and how I wouldn’t have enough money or time to join them… But these past few days, I’ve just begun to not care so much about that.. Because it seems that every time I think about trying to go away, I realize there’s something going on here in Edinburgh that I don’t want to miss, like a church event or a hang-out with friends (or tea with Rita). I think — and I’m still in conversation with God about this, but — I think that I’m here to do things like that. I’m here to hang out with people, to build relationships, to encourage and be encouraged… I would much rather be doing that then seeing something once, taking a picture, and checking it off my to-see list.
Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring God’s glorious land, and I really do want to visit the Highlands and see more of Scotland’s beauty… but I think I’m getting better at not worrying about it so much. I want to leave it in God’s hands, and if I make it to these amazing sights, then so be it, but if I don’t, I know my time in Scotland will have still been worth something. I don’t need to see Loch Ness to feel I’ve made the most of my semester abroad. Although I’d love to spot Nessie some time, I know that God has me here for greater purposes than just seeing. He’s led me into relationships that are full of His light, and He’s shown me areas where that light needs to be just a little bit brighter… and that is why I’m here.
God, I’d love to see more of this beautiful country you’ve placed me in, but I’ll trust in Your timing and Your plan. No matter what happens, You won’t let this time go to waste. Thank You for reforming my desires, easing my stress, and helping me to see that there is more to Scotland than seeing the sights — there are people to love, and they are just as beautiful as misty lochs and vast landscapes. Amen.