Sunday is our chill day. Since we have our worship together on Fridays, our Sundays are wide open. PJs for most of the day, iChat with my parents in the morning, popcorn and a Ling Du Ke Le (Coke Zero) for lunch, and a whole lot of nothing in between. I know it seems bad and don't take this as a confession that I don't like living here (because I do!) but on our chill day, we usually just hang out at home and pretend we're not in China. Is it terrible to actually say that out loud? Maybe...maybe not.
But the thing about Chinese friends that can often cramp your style on Chill Day is that they just love to stop by. To an American, this is often not so well-received. I need at least a few hours to wrap my mind around entertaining people, let alone getting the Chinese part of my brain jump started on a day it's used to going into hibernation.
So on a random Sunday in February, I got a phone call from my dear friend JJ. It's actually surprising that I was able to answer the call considering sometimes Sundays find my cell phone either turned off, out of money, or entirely ignored. It went something like this:
JJ: Are you home?
JJ: OK. I'll be right there.
And sure enough, five minutes later, the doorbell rings, which indicates to me that JJ was already heading to my house when she called, which begs the question what would she have done if I wasn't home?
JJ bursts through the door with a metallic bag filled with New Years presents for me. The typical New Years gifts involve entirely useless and superfluous stuff packaged in ornate and expensive boxes. The box is the most important feature of the gift and is often saved and passed off to other friends for years to come. It's like the combination of the American fruit cake (useless and unwanted) and Hobby Lobby clearance gift bag (gets used over and over again).
But JJ knows me and knows I don't really care much about Chinese pomp & circumstance. So instead of trying to impress me with flashy red boxes, she brought the goods she knows speak right to my heart: strawberries, bananas, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
The other providential thing that happened was that earlier I had decided to do some tidying (not a common practice on Chill Day!). It is a very good thing to have a moderately clean home when your former house helper decides to make a surprise visit. "Your house is so clean!" she remarked, after taking a look around. Oh good! I've managed to convince her that my life has not fallen apart since she left.
Despite the fact I was still wearing my workout clothes and was long overdue a shower, she stayed for the next hour, and we chatted it up about her holiday, her son's birthday, her tempestuous niece, and her burgeoning business venture as a shop owner.
I would just like to add that this picture was not taken during JJ's surprise visit. My workout clothes most certainly do not include one of the few sweaters I own!
It's funny to me that it seems like JJ has changed so much since she quit working at our house. I feel like she's gotten more trendy. Maybe she has to look fashionable in order to sell clothes to people? I guess she never thought before that my dirty dishes would be impressed with her leopard print tops and permed hair. Jeans & sweatshirts would do just fine. Our favorite sweatshirt was one that had "The Most Fly" printed across the front in English. She had no clue what it meant, so we explained it to her and proceeded to ask her for the next few months, "JJ, who's the most fly?" "Me," she would answer.
So with the interruption of Chill Day, a most important revelation came to me. My time is not my own. My life is not my own. Even Chill Day is not my own. I want to be free to love and serve and welcome anyone into my home & life, even if it's perhaps a little inconvenient to me or my well-intentioned plans. Besides, life is what happens in the interruptions. So if Chill Day (or any day for that matter!) is going to be interrupted, there is no one I'd rather interrupt it than my most fly friend.