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.
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 informational…AND…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.
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.
The 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.
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.