Once again

Once again it’s been a while since I’ve shown up here. And if I’m going to be honest with myself, and with ya’ll, it’s for a variety of reasons – so here’s what they are, and what’s up with me right about now…

1 – Things have slowly been getting busier here in my neck of the woods – starting to settle in, to begin to make some connections and beginning friendships, to get a picture of what this next year might look like… It’s been good to settle in a bit, even if there’s not exactly a schedule yet.
2 – I have a job (of sorts) doing medical interpreting in Spanish, which is kind of fun, a little bit hard, and also intimidating. Many of the words I have discovered that I don’t (or didn’t) know in Spanish include: bruise, heartburn, catheter, bladder, CAT scan, tingling, disclosure, and many others. And then when you add to the fact that I want to throw Portuguese in there half the time, it makes for a stressful time.
3 – I’m still praying over what this next year will look like – ways to get involved in the community, in my church, with the poor. I don’t know yet, but am hopeful.
4 – My self-imposed hermitage is nearly over – the past few weeks I’ve been able to see a few good, close friends, and plan out several other visits. I finally have enough energy where it is exciting and I’m looking forward to spending time with many of those that I love, rather than simply seeing it as an exhausting, draining time. I’ve found life in those visits, and am grateful for them.
5 – LSAT studying is coming along. Trying to make a daily habit of it. I’m registered to take the test in less than two months, so there’s a bit of pressure in that. But I think it should turn out OK.
6 – These past few months have been a catalyst for me to start taking better care of myself – getting enough rest, not overcommitting to things, eating right (or at least better), getting some regular exercise (I’m up to about 10-12 miles a week now! a record for me!), and learning to live sustainably and take care of myself. You’d think I’d have a bit better handle on it by now, but no…
7 – Finally, there’s the tension that I’ve been struggling with each and every day – “How do I live my life in the here and now, being fully present where I’m at, while at the same time remembering and honoring those who I love who are not present – namely, my community in Brazil (and worldwide), the youth on the street, the children in the favela programs, neighbors and friends and aquaintances galore?”
I’m a very “out of sight, out of mind” type of person, and I don’t want to be in this instance. How do I live my life here in America in a way that honors and respects the global poor? How do I live a life that invites in those who are on the margins and at the periphery of society and my world here where I live now? How do I continue to reinforce the lessons I learned, but forget so easily? How do I love my neighbor and my God in this society that can be so comfortable, seductive, and shiny?
I’ve been wrestling with that. Any thoughts? Advice? Helpful comments? Constructive criticism? Bad jokes or puns?
I’m searching out opportunities here in Rockford to be involved – looking for ways to reach out to the marginalized, the orphan, the widow, the alien, the stranger, and entering into their communities and allowing them to enter into mine. Exploring how I can be a part of expanding the vision of what is possible here, and of what could happen in the future if we only dreamed big enough and had a little faith and hope…
Tonight I chatted with one of our Brazilian coworkers, and it felt so right to be thinking of, praying for, laughing with, and smiling about the stories, the victories, the good and the bad. She said “You are missed here by so many…”
And then she told this story – shortly after Michael Jackson died, one of our volunteers was helping out at the afterschool program in the favela we partnered with. She spoke with G, 7 years old, and asked him what his thoughts were on Michael’s death. G replied, “I miss him a lot. But I miss Tio Benjamin more…”
I miss you too, G. I miss you too.

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Filed under existential questions, favela, future, life, rio de janeiro, saudades, update, writing

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