I’m an introvert. I know, you’re shocked, right? Cause I talk so much? But it’s true, I am. Every personality test I’ve ever taken in my life has confirmed it. The only inconclusive part of these tests is whether I’m more of a feeler or a thinker, since I score so close to the middle every time. I think I’m usually more of a feeler but I definitely have a lot of the thinking traits too, so to solve that problem I’ve decided to accept that I’m an analytical introvert who feels things deeply.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I’m shy or unable to express myself – I’m clearly neither of these things. It means that I prefer small, intimate experiences to large, crowded ones, that I prefer not to be the centre of attention, and that I value privacy and alone time. It’s why I prefer to mark my birthday by climbing a mountain rather than throwing a party. It’s why I prefer staying in and reading a book or watching a movie over hanging out with a tonne of people. And it’s why I’ve needed peace, quiet and solitude every Friday night for as long as I have been working – to recover from my work week and prepare for the responsibilities of the weekend. If I hang out with you on a Friday night, I must really want to be around you.
Because of my introversion, sharing living space could be a challenge for me. Could be.
For the first 5 and a half weeks of my stay in Jakarta, I have shared a bedroom with A. I am happy to say that this has not been a hardship. A and I get along very well, I think because we have similar personalities so we manage ourselves similarly in a lot of ways. We also have similar sleep schedules, so one of us isn’t always tormenting the other with light and noise when that person is trying to sleep. Most of the discomforts that could be present when sharing a bedroom are blessedly absent. Thank You, God.
Still, no situation is ever perfect and I do have a few discomforts. Well, only 2, in fact. First, I like to be alone with God every morning before I start my day, to study my Bible (study, not read) and to pray. Alone. Just Him and me and no-one else in the vicinity who could be a distraction because they’re understandably moving around and going about their business, or even just breathing. Plus, I write my prayers most days but I also like to pray aloud every day, usually declarations that remind me of who I am in God and what He has in store for me. These declarations are powerful when said out loud instead of only in my heart. But this is a private practice that I don’t have the privacy to do at my own pace and leisure.
Second and far less important, at the outset of this sharing arrangement, I used to have to do contortions while changing my clothes (like getting dressed after a shower) so I wouldn’t share more than was absolutely necessary. However, this situation resolved itself soon enough when A and I developed a rhythm where we give each other privacy to get dressed and undressed by alternating who is in the room. For example, A undresses and gets into her towel while I’m still in bed with my back turned, then she goes to the bathroom for her shower. Meanwhile, I get out of bed, get my things together, change into my towel and exit to the bathroom when she gets back. While I’m showering, she gets ready and by the time I get back to the room, she’s already done and out so I have privacy to get ready without the contortions. Whew! What a dance.
Even with all that, and though it’s definitely not ideal, it’s been fun sharing space with A.
Tomorrow A’s time here is up and she leaves Indonesia. Within 12 hours, I will be on my own in that room, in this house, in this country, for the foreseeable future. Actually, no, not on my own. I am never on my own. I will not be alone.
“The LORD your God will be the one who keeps on walking with you—he won’t leave you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6b
Still, I will be sad when she’s gone. She’s been my travel buddy, my translator, my constant companion for 3 and a half months. She’s been excellent company through the various situations that I’ve faced since being in Indonesia. She’s given me more laugh-out-loud moments than I’ve had in any other 3 and a half month period of my life and my first ever bike ride. We’ve been angry and anxious, sad and serious, and silly and school-girlish together. It’s been my absolute and complete pleasure to be in her company.
And so I thank You, God, for easing my transition in this country by blessing me with this beautiful girl who has been so kind, generous and open to me when she didn’t have to be, even from day 1. Please walk with her as she leaves this place, Holy Spirit. Reveal your power and presence to her, Lord, so that she may come to know you and love you in the way that only a personal encounter with you can bring. Please be with her as she continues to touch the lives of others, and bring all of her potential into the realm of reality, even as you teach her that it all comes from You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray.
A, my darling, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you His peace.
Amen. And walk good.