I was recounting my trip to China yesterday and I told my husband China Laura is much more fun than American Laura. I rode in a gondola at the Great Wall, held a baby tiger, skied at in indoor ski park and saw Shanghai from two thousand feet up. I rode a tandem bike on a 600-year-old city wall, went on a roller coaster at Shanghai Disney and ate pig’s tongue. I took five plane trips, sat in a pool of flesh eating fish for a pedicure and ate jellyfish, eel and crayfish (and I don’t like seafood).
When friends told me they could never eat what I ate, go where I went or do what I did in China, I chuckled. If I, the biggest wuss I know, ate, went and did – anyone could. Why was China Laura so different from American Laura?
While we were in the Middle Kingdom I kept asking myself, “When am I ever going to get to do this again?” I had one chance to experience and ingest things I knew I probably would never have the chance to do or eat again. I also wanted my kids to not look back with regret on their once in a lifetime trip. China Laura was so much more fun and brave than American Laura because China Laura knew she had one shot.
I was home for one week when I found out a friend has acute leukemia, another friend has a severe kidney disease and another couple I know almost lost their nephew in a horrific car accident. I was home for one week and began to be convicted I still only have one shot.
America Laura has one shot to love others. One shot to encourage someone. One shot to be the kind of wife I want to be and my husband deserves. One shot to live less afraid, less worried about what others think and with passion and purpose.
But just like China Laura came home and slowly drifted back into dull, afraid American Laura, time will pass. My friends will get better. I’ll lose track of them. I will forget about accidents and diagnosis’s and the fragility and temporal nature of life and I’ll coast. I won’t take risks, laugh hard, choose to love the unlovely or tell people I love that I believe Christ loves them and life is better with Him.
Or will I?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “He who moves not forward, goes backward.” There’s really no such thing as coasting. So, how do I intend to become more Chinese in America? I’ve been thinking a lot about that and all I’ve come up with is committing to more and more serious prayer. Like putting times down in my planner and writing out prayers and answers to them. I’ve no clue how and if that will help me continue to be more Chinese, but I only have one shot and I’m not wasting it.