We had only been living on this little Indonesian island for a couple of weeks, but I noticed it right away. The prolonged stares, every pair of eyes on me in the parking lot as I tried to back out of a difficult spot, people pointing me out to their friends and yelling “Hello Mister,” giggling girls asking for a picture, even the teenage checker who snickered and said something to his friend when I spoke Indonesian. I found myself wanting to shrink into a hole … wishing that an invisibility cape had been invented for situations like this. Leaving my house became a stressful, draining event. It was a huge contrast from the city we had lived in for the past year while studying the language. Here, there are essentially no westerners apart from our MAF team, and people notice. The fact that my three little kids and I have blonde hair and blue eyes doesn’t help the situation.
The other day I ventured out on another shopping trip, wishing for that invisibility cape again and feeling rather annoyed that people found me so interesting. “I’m not famous! There’s nothing interesting about me!” I wanted to scream. That week, during homeschool session with my kindergartner and preschooler, we had been studying the moon and how it reflects light from the sun. It drew a parallel to the fact that Jesus is like the sun and we are like the moon, not giving off any light of our own but reflecting the light of Jesus. “You are the light of the world” was the theme verse from … “Ok God, I get it,” I sighed. If I am to be a light in this corner of the world, then I should be thankful that people notice me, watch how I act, and wonder why I’m even here. Hiding in a hole would accomplish nothing. We are to be a light unto the world so that they may know and understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus—a love that does not require us to attain our own salvation, but is a free gift to all who receive it.
There are times I still struggle with wishing that I had an invisibility cape in my back pocket, but for now I take heart that Jesus is using me to reflect his light to the world.