Between 2 Worlds

Some people have asked why I’m taking some weeks off facebook.

The easier answers are …
We have to wait to watch The Voice finale until it airs on hulu, and I don’t want facebook feed to spoil it for me! OR
After taking out 7 hours of my day (to teach kids, study portuguese, hang laundry), something had to go. OR
I’m really horrible at keeping up with 500 friends. To many, that’s not a big deal. But to some, it has been.
All true.
But not all. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why, but here’s a try.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this place we find ourselves today. We’ve now lived in Brazil for 6 months. CrAzY!! In many ways, it feels like the time has flown. Can hardly believe it’s been that long since a Papa John’s pizza, coffee with our life group, Noa Noa spinach dip, a church service in English…
Kinda amazed we’ve survived! 🙂

Yet in other ways it seems the more time that passes, the farther away we feel. While we are the ones who moved away, sometimes it feels like we aren’t the ones who moved on. Our kids talk about things that happened at school in September like it was yesterday. (When it was really 9 months ago! I just have to wonder how long that will go on.)

In the olden days, missionaries left one country and moved to another. Maybe they’d get a snail mail letter now and then. But that was it. I think that would be SO much harder. Imagine stepping off the plane, it wouldn’t take long until they met up with isolation and loneliness. But it probably was easier to learn to be “all there.” There was nothing else to compare their day with. So, they learned to live it. Sure, there were memories of what they left behind, but the sights of everything they were missing wasn’t always before them.

Nowadays it is much easier to remain connected. Thank you All Gore for our internets! We are so thankful for technology…for the chance to catch up with family over skype, watch our friends’ kids graduate from preschool on instagram, listen to the latest sermons and podcasts, read what’s on people’s minds, know what they think of the weather and all the snowdays on facebook 😉 An English speaker is only a phone call away! We can even save a stamp (and 3 weeks) and send off letters via email! How all this has helped our transition!

But with all this “connection” comes trying to figure out how to live between 2 worlds.
How to keep up with those we care about deeply in a world that is so instant and informationalAND…How to get to know people here in a world that is more relaxed and relational. (Sidenote: It’s crazy how many drink coffee here without taking pictures of it! Who knew it could still be done?? 😉 )

We miss our family and friends so bad it hurts!
In portuguese, the expression for “I miss you” is “I feel your absence.” We feel it.
Every.single.day.
I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping my emotions under control. I just need to cry once a week about it all, and it’s all good. But, our boys will share at some point each day something they miss. That’s what gets me. To hear our youngest crying in his bed because he feels like he has “zero friends here…ZERO!” and just wants to play with those back in Indiana. To read the notes they write to their grandma – “I wish you were sitting next to me right now.” I can’t even type that without coming undone.

I keep telling our kids “If we’re so focused on what we miss, we’ll miss out on being here.” We want to learn how to be present here. How to be a good friend here. How to rejoice in this day that the Lord has made for us here. Because I can really see us missing this one day.
photo 3The other day as we were going through all this…Jude sharing how much he misses his friends, me scooping him up on my lap, holding him close, praying over him…it was different. I pictured the Lord scooping us onto His lap, holding us close, comforting us both.
I knew we weren’t alone.
Our God is with us. Our God is for us.

I love the description of the first missionaries to leave a country to venture into the unknown:

They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth.
And obviously people who talk like that are looking forward to a country they can call their own.
If they had meant the country they came from, they would have found a way to go back.
But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.
THAT IS WHY God is not ashamed to be called their God.
(Hebrews 11.13b-16a)

This is where God has led us. No doubt in my mind!
So, no use dreaming about a one-way ticket back to familiar.
We must dig our hands down deep in this place we find ourselves.
And should we long for another world, let’s be sure it’s not of this earth.

As for those moments when the isolation and loneliness show up at our door?
Well, guess what. We don’t have to face them on our own!
There is a Holy Lap we can climb upon.
An Almighty Embrace waiting to happen.

For The Lord your God has arrived to live among you.
He is a mighty Savior, He will rejoice over you with great gladness.
With His love, He will calm your fears.
He will exult over you by singing a happy song.
(Zephaniah 3.17)

So, what does this all have to do with facebook?
I don’t really know  🙂
Maybe I just need to step back and figure out how to do our new “normal”…
and all of the above. It won’t be forever.
But until then, let’s make space to listen for that happy song.

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10 thoughts on “Between 2 Worlds

  1. Out of the Bluehouse

    Sara thank you so much for this! So beautifully written and something I definitely need to hear as well. Love and miss you guys!

    Reply
  2. Holly Urschalitz

    I love you, Sara. That was so well expressed. If I weren’t just heading off to bed as I read this, I would write more, but frankly, I don’t even know how to respond. You’re in our hearts and in my prayers, and, You are loved with an everlasting love! Hugs to all, lovely-li’l-mama-after-God’s-own-heart, XOXOX~ Miss Holly

    Reply
    1. saralroyer Post author

      Miss Holly,
      You knew exactly how to respond! Thanks for your sweet encouragement, your reminders, your virtual hugs, your prayers…we feel them!

      Reply
  3. Steve Henry

    To paraphrase the Dos XX’s guy in the commercials, “I don’t always read blogs, but when I do I read Sara Royer’s blog.” You not only clearly help me know how to pray for you guys, but you give me so much insight into how to better serve the missionaries God has given me the privilege to serve. Hang in there dear sister and cling to Jesus!

    Reply
    1. saralroyer Post author

      Steve, had to look that commercial up..shows how much out of the loop I am already! Ha!
      Thanks for your encouragement. Because of HIS great love, we are not consumed. His mercies are new EVERY morning. Boy do we feel that!

      Reply
  4. Holly Splawn

    Wonderful words to which I can relate. I’ve cried plenty. I’ve struggled living in between the two worlds, trying to balance really living here, but trying to keep up with all those I love at “home”. It is exhausting.
    I love how your word points us toward Christ.
    Hugs from the East side ~ Holly

    Reply
    1. saralroyer Post author

      Dear Holly,
      So looking forward to catching up face to face soon! Have been praying already your time here would be refreshing and encouraging for you guys. And thinking of fun things to help that…Starbucks for sure! 😉

      Reply
  5. Marcia

    We’ve moved before and will be doing it again soon. My children remember their friends as they were when we left them. After a couple years when my children had moved on to different, older activities then they finally realized their old friends had probably moved on, too. It will most likely happen again when we move again: When we return to visit my kids will want to pick up where they left off, but their friends will have moved on. It will confuse them at first, but then they will understand. I will cry because their friendships will show the weakening bonds and childhood will be vanishing. They might cry, too. But they made friends after the last move. They’ll probably do an even better job this time (so long as facebook and instagram and email, with their new old friends, don’t become their constant companions). I did rather poorly this time. I thought I had more time. What will happen this next time? You have God and each other and some others. We will have God and each other and more others, supposedly. Please, God, hold us in your lap and hug us and give us friends that point us back to you.

    Reply
    1. saralroyer Post author

      Amen, Marcia!
      As hard as it is to watch our kids learn this, it really is amazing that even in our loneliness, we are never alone. May this all make us long even more for our Home.

      Reply

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