Isn't it amazing the way life just changes and expands with every passing season? It almost feels as if each day I'm a completely transformed person, and if I were to somehow be transported back about 10 years when I was 14 years old and no doubt on the phone gossiping about boys with one of my girlfriends, I would have absolutely nothing in common with that person. I've been transformed so many times since then, experienced so many things. Am I even the same person that I was then? Maybe this doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but it makes sense to me.
I've been so busy studying Chinese, and I've really grown to love my classmates. We're in this together, each and every one of us. I used to be jealous of most of them. This one had better tones than me and that one knew more vocabulary words, but I've transformed enough times since those jealous days to not care anymore. The best part about going to Chinese class is making friends from all over the world. One of my favorite people in the class is a Japanese woman. This girl is model material -- so tall and thin, and she has shiny hair too! The other day she gave me a handwritten recipe for miso soup complete with illustrations and an adorable little disclaimer at the bottom apologizing for her English. I've noticed that she reads a book every morning before class, and today I asked her what she was reading.
Me: 你在看什麼書 (ni kan shenme shu ~ What book are you reading)?
Her: 日本的書 (ribende shu ~ A Japanese book).
Now here's the point where I started to stare blankly because I was trying to figure out the Chinese for what I wanted to say next. Then she said:
Her: 我看Bible (wo kan Bible ~ I'm reading the Bible).
Me: Oh! 我也喜歡看Bible (oh! wo ye xi huan kan Bible ~ Oh! I also like to read the Bible).
Then she looked at me and said, 新的心（Xinde xin ~ New heart).
Did we have a deep theological discussion? No. Our Chinese is still pretty limited, and I certainly don't speak any Japanese (by the way, the reason why I wrote our entire conversation out in Chinese is because I go to school two hours a day, do about 2-3 hours a day of homework a day on top of that, and am just so happy that I am progressing so I'm going to take every chance I get to show it off -- in other words because I can). Neither of us knew how to say anything very "deep" or "spiritual", but we could say "new heart", and that's all that needed to be said. When God transforms me, that's what he gives me -- a new heart. I used to think that everyone just underwent one big transformation when they got "saved". Now I'm not so sure though, mostly because I can't pinpoint any one exact time when I gave my life to God and automatically became a new person. It's been more of a journey that started with a single step, as trite as that sounds. In any case, I'm happy for the newness of things. The newness of each season, the newness of each day, and mostly, the new heart that God so freely gives me.