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I call it “the gig”.

When I talk, I like to pretend it’s completely normal…

Like most of my friends from high school and college don’t still live within a day’s drive of their families.

Like everyone else’s mom has to put together birthday packages two months before their daughter’s birthday so it can be shipped to her so she can take it along when she traipses off into underdeveloped villages in the middle of nowhere South Asia.

Doesn’t everyone have to compute a 9 ½ to 11 hour time difference when Skyping with their friends and family?

Sometimes I fantasize about going home (the first one, before the many I have now) and getting a “normal” job…

I watch Criminal Minds and wonder if I could pass the entrance exam for the FBI.

What jobs are there in which being bi-lingual is a bonus?

Of course, I fantasize about making a living as a writer. But some days that doesn’t seem quite normal enough.

Often, I lay awake and imagine myself in another life…


A foster mom.

Posting Facebook statuses about the fantastic new recipe I just made and the cute pictures of the living room I just redecorated (again).

But I think I joke so easily about what I’ll do when “this gig” falls through because there’s a sense of security about it.

Despite all the vagary and muddled messages of inter-cultural living.

Because of the elation of language victories and the hilarious laughter of language failure.

Tripping my way through long-distance friendships and the balancing act of time lived on two sides of an ocean.

I recognize rightness.

A fit.

Not normalcy. Not that.

Not the beckoning, crushing force that says the only worthwhile things in life are the ones I can show off on Pinterest.

Why does Twitter get to decide what’s worth talking about?

No, “this gig” is far from your usual fare.

And yet it exists in all the usual places.

A kitchen.

A classroom.

An office.

A cup of coffee with a friend.

We minister to one another in clumsy and sometimes beautiful ways.

We live out the “priesthood of all believers”.

We are conduits of grace in villages in nowhere South Asia.

We are conduits of grace putting together birthday packages two months early for our daughter.

“This gig” takes on a hundred different forms, sometimes all on the same day.

And there is no plan B, because it turns out our plan B was His plan A all along.

Grace. Grace.

And more grace.

And “this gig” – this strange, sometimes horrifying, sometimes delightful gig is the most gracious of them all.

A calling.