15. Getting Better
I would like to insert another humorous anecdote here. On one of the rare occasions when I was able to participate in an evening concert, I found myself being followed around by a dark-skinned, constantly smiling, very creepy local man. He was driving the truck that carried our equipment from concert site to concert site. Rounding the corner of the building outside, heading back into the main hall where we had just performed, I nearly ran into his outstretched arms. Startled, I pushed him away and looked around for anyone I knew and trusted. Funny but the only one around was that cocky Hispanic trumpet player again. Desperately I called his name and pulling him aside, I quickly let him know that I was being pursued by the truck driver.
I don't remember his response, if indeed he gave me one, but I saw him walk over and start having a discussion with the driver. After that, the man left me completely alone. Days later, I asked Mario what he had said. The exchange occurred as follows,
"Hey man," said the trumpet player, "I noticed you following that blonde girl over there around."
"Yes," responded the truck driver, "I think she is very beautiful and I want to make her my wife." (no, I'm not kidding)
"Well, I don't think that's gonna work", trumpet-man replied, "because you see, she's my wife."
Truck driver paused a moment and then offered, "I can give you one elephant for her." (stop laughing, this is true!)
Mario thought about it (yes, he did) and answered, "man, if you had two elephants I'd really think about it but I can't just give her up for one." (grrrrrrr)
Truck driver became very insulted and stomped away, his dreams of happily-ever-after destroyed by the lack of two elephants.
Ministering during February 1997 in India changed my perspective on life, relationships and God. I could no longer ignore the fact that I had it good here at home in the United States. We all do. I couldn’t brush my attitudes, perceptions, judgments and expectations under the rug. I came face to face with my own inconsistencies and inability to be truly compassionate. Reaching out to the Lord, I asked Him to give me His heart for His people. I didn’t want to be fake, to put up a front. I wanted to be honest, to be healed both physically and emotionally. In Madras, my roommates prayed with me and I was delivered of all the anorexic thoughts I’d been having and I have never once been under its control again.
I was still very ill physically but during that time I depended on God’s strength and His Scriptures which promised me He would never leave me. I remembered that He had saved me before and I committed to learn how to love Him, to love myself and then to love others His way.
After India, we headed to Thailand where I was taken to a major hospital in Bangkok. I received the best care and medications. I discovered that I had a stomach infection, an intestinal infection and a uterine infection. Under Thai doctors' care though, my health turned completely around. I was back behind my keyboards (there was enough electrical power now for me to play both of them), praising the Lord once again for His faithfulness. My director and I came to an agreement about the short guy who thought I was going to be his wife and I made it clear to my director that I had no interest. I enjoyed ministering at the schools in Thailand and had several opportunities to use my schooling in East Asian cultures. It was a wonderful time and after about two weeks, we prepared to leave for Hong Kong. We would spend the rest of our time there, taking a few day trips to China and to Macau for some concerts .
One day on the way to Macau from Hong Kong, the team embarked on a hydrofoil boat. Somehow, a teammate and I got separated from the team and ended up in a completely different section on the boat. That teammate was Mario. The same guy who had reprimanded me on the bus in India. The same one who was shocked when I requested his presence the night of the fire. On that boat ride, I discovered that Mario was not nearly as obnoxious as I had once thought and he was really quite compassionate and funny. I ended up telling him all my deepest, darkest secrets that day. I have no idea how that happened but somehow, it was just so easy to talk to him. It was the beginning of God answering my prayers for being able to see through His eyes and have His heart for others.
As soon as we arrived in Macau, Mario and I went our separate ways but I had learned something very interesting. I learned that though I always accused other people of having preconceived ideas about others, I was the queen of them all. Once again, I sought the Lord and asked Him to continue to break my heart for the needs of His children.