I looked up from the toys strewn all over my kids’ room and glanced at the clock. I calculated how long I would need to cook dinner. My husband would arrive home any minute, and my guest was still here.
Usually I have more control over the situation. I drive this friend of mine to the store about once a week. Speaking in my second language to my Indonesian friend, as we walk with our young kids around the stiflingly hot store wears me out. But at least I can say that it’s time to go and drive her home.
But this time I pulled up in front of her house, and she stayed in my car.
“I’m not ready to go home yet. Can I come to your house?”
A half hour into her visit, I wracked my tired brain for more questions, more topics of conversation to draw out my quiet friend. Then her 3-year-old son with the disability started banging his head on the floor. And as she normally does, I waited for her to scoop up her thrashing son into her arms and shout her goodbye as she struggled out my front door.
But this time she stayed.
And she began crying and talking like she’d never before shared. I already knew some of the hard things in life. Her arranged marriage to her husband who keeps her at a distance. Her strained relationship with her in-laws—with whom she and her husband live. The blame placed on her for her son’s health problems. Her distance from her God, to whom she prays in Arabic.
This time she told me more and my heart broke again. She said she wanted to leave her husband that week. I thought about this friend as a single mom, caring for an autistic son on her own, and I forgot about dinner.
I was afraid to do it, but I prayed for her to my close God, and though we don’t share our beliefs, she listened. And she stayed.
I talked about a love that never ends and comfort from a God who cares and verses that give life. I waited for her to walk away, thrashing against my words as they banged in her head, shouting her final good-bye.
But she stayed.
And dinner would just have to wait, and I knew my husband would understand, and the mess got bigger as the kids played, and her mess wasn’t going to go away with one conversation. And her heart needed more than a fixed marriage or a healthy son.
BUT, days later, she sent a text. Though this certainly isn’t the end of the story, for now anyway, she wouldn’t leave him. For now, she would stay.
By Rebecca Hopkins, Borneo Wife
Photo Credit, TibchrisLeave a Comment