My Own River

I take a sip of the sweet pink juice my neighbor offers me and ask her where she’s from.

She says a name of a place in Borneo.

“Oh, where is that village?” I say.

“It’s not a village. It’s a river.”

Of course. Kalimantan (the Indonesian name for Borneo) is known as the “land of a thousand rivers,” and almost everyone I meet here gives me the name of one of them when I ask where their original home is. Some are small. One of them—the Kapuas River—is Indonesia’s longest river (710 miles long!).

An MAF floatplane is docked at one of the many villages lining Borneo's rivers. Photo by Isaac Rogers.

An MAF floatplane is docked at one of the many villages lining Borneo’s rivers. Photo by Isaac Rogers.

Maybe it’s because I’m sweaty, or maybe it’s because I’m so ready to call this new place I’ve moved to “home,” but I make a decision in her small house.

I want one of those. And by “those,” I mean, a river.

I know it sounds crazy. But surely with so many rivers at its disposal, Borneo can share just one with me.

Rebecca preparing to jump from the MAF floating dock into the Kahayan river.

Rebecca preparing to jump from the MAF floating dock into the Kahayan river.

Everybody goes about making “home” in a new place a little differently. I want to know more about these rivers from new friends and neighbors, want to know how they connect and divide, want to hear the stories of life and struggle that take place on its banks, of beliefs and disappointments that spread their way through the jungle.

I want to know how my own story continues here, winding throughout the hard and good I know will come. Want to know where the connections happen and how they change me, and perhaps how I can create something that carries soul healing along these streams. I want to hear my husband’s God-shaped story flowing through the jungle … his story of flights that land and take off on Borneo’s rivers, of lives saved, of hope carried. I want to see my kids grow in their love of this place and their friends who belong to its rivers.

I guess what I really want is to someday be able to know, to some extent, I’m from here, too—from the river of the life God is creating for me.

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