I arrived in Istanbul and have settled in with my host family once again. Sitting by the truck on our way back from the mountain cabin today, my host brother actually complimented my Turkish (“Well it’s not THAT good, but it’s enough”) We’d been talking about how dolphins catch fish and the various attributes of his favorite soccer players and I realized those topics aren’t as basic as they appear in one’s own language.
It feels almost like coming back to a second home when I’m here, albeit a home filled with a language I only 80% understand. I’ve almost let go of that concern though, trusting that eventually I’ll become more fluent and in the mean time feeling remarkably peaceful. I’ve completely let go of the sad and difficult memories of this place now, especially the challenging high school sojourn, which frees me up immensely.
I had a dream of standing beside a house fire last weekend while I was staying in Philadelphia. Just a few days before my aunt and I had discussed the scripture passage where we are promised that God offers beauty for ashes. In meeting the day after my dream, ministry focused on how we can burn away our hangups to be as children again, open and full of wonder. Perhaps our choice to burn away our personal hurts in order to build deeper spiritual connection and recapture child-like wonder is part of God’s gift of beauty.
Staying with my little host brothers, who I’ve watched grow from toddlers to preadolescents, I connect again with the beauty I remember finding everywhere as a child. I’m also eternally grateful I’m not a willful little brat anymore.