Yanga & Balaygan

There are many lists floating around on the internet of "untranslatable" words.  I love these lists.  I'm also annoyed by them because they are, in fact, not untranslatable; often they are not conveniently translatable.  Anyway, I have my own sort of running mental list of favorites, words for things that are less concisely expressed in English.

Yanga is one, learned from Elisabeth Elliot's one work of fiction, No Graven Image.  Yanga -- for no purpose.

Balaygan is another, learned from David Tal as he led our group around Israel: bother, trouble, applicable to everything from dropping your camera in the water to (slightly tongue-in-cheek) the Holocaust, which he referred to as "the big balaygan in Europe."

Both words seemed applicable as I looked at my flight itinerary with dismay.  A fourteen hour layover in San Francisco?  It wasn't the flight that I would have chosen, but since the school pays for one flight, we try to be cheap.


Fourteen hours is a long time.  Particularly when I'm in America for so little time, it felt like a colossal waste of time to think of spending an entire day sitting in an airport.  I have places to go.  People to see.

I complained about it, but a flight is a flight.  Layovers happen.  On the bright side, I figured it would take a colossal delay to make me miss my San Fran --> Pittsburgh flight.


A completely different note of complaint about this summer is the short list of dear friends who have, as happens, moved from Bloomington for various reasons while I've been in China this year.  The Manleys to Georgia, Caleb to California.  There are some always some people who I know that I won't be able to see during the couple months of US time (especially with Wheaton), but there's a particular kind of grief that I feel when other friends move into orbits that are less likely to intersect with mine.  I said goodbye for a year, not for the rest of our lives, I cried at various times.  Goodbyes come with the territory, but it doesn't really make them easier.


Aaron Shust's words, "And it seems You're aware of so much more than I give you credit for," have long echoed true in my heart, as over and over I see how needless my anxieties are.  


"You should talk to Caleb!" Susan said when we facetimed, as I groaned about the layover.



Sometimes it only takes five text messages to radically change my perspective, to see how far from being a yanga annoyance, the fourteen hour layover was a loving Father's provision.  

I'm amazed, time and again, at His generosity.  Countless times, growing up, I sang Great is Thy Faithfulness with its words

All that I've needed,
Thy hand hath provided --

and as I get older I find that He provides so much more than what I need, down to things that I deeply desire.  I'm reminded that He sees me and knows me and loves me.  And being reminded of that, I can sleep in security and wake up filled with joy.  


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