I don’t have any radical insights to share today, just a dear story.
This week, I twice shuttled the same young lady and her 11mo. baby to the local health department. The first time, I struggled to communicate with her. I’ve found that it’s much easier to communicate with Myanmar men than with their wives. With the men, I share education. But for the women, most find their identity as a mother and wife. I have neither a husband nor children. So, at first, I found little about which to converse with this young mother. She was 21, only a year older than I, but she already had a child and had been married almost two years.
When I looked at my schedule two days later, I saw that I would again take her and her baby to the health department. I was desperate to converse with her. I prayed that I would be a blessing and that we would form some bridge of friendship.
When I drove her to the health department with her baby, we developed a friendship. Before, she had sung a beautiful, simple lullaby to her baby while we drove. I loved the lullaby and sung it to my mum when I got home. On this trip, I told the young mother that I had shared the lullaby with my mother and that we had both been touched by the lyrics and melody. She smiled and laughed. Then, a few minutes later, she sang the song to her baby.
I was overjoyed that we were both trying to be friends with what we had.
For the rest of the trip, we found a conversation topic that almost all girls love discussing: romance. She told me the story of how she met her husband. She had thought of him as a brother when she was a child; he was sixteen years older than she. She laughed delightedly when she said, “But now, he is my husband.”
When she was little, he had told her parents that he would marry her when she grew up. Her parents suggested him as her husband when she was older. She accepted him because, “He is true to God and a good man.” The sweet happiness in her voice was poignant. The idea of an arranged marriage is foreign to me (as is the large age gap between the two), but the love that she held for her husband touched me. We found a common connection in spite of the difference in culture.
On the way home from the health department, we just listened to music. In a previous post, I shared that I realized I can be silent when shuttling my refugee friends. But on this day, the lack of conversation was sweeter because of the friendly conversation that preceded it.