Monday, April 21, 2008

A long update

I have to admit that I’m thinking of not blogging anymore. It’s sort of hard to keep up with it. And I feel like people want to know what’s going on, and nothing really exciting is happening. Day to day, life looks pretty much the same. I wake up, I walk to the center, I go to chapel with the rest of the community, I have a language lesson, I go to lunch, I hang out with kids, I go home, I eat dinner, I read, I study Romanian, I sleep.
I’ve been here almost 6 weeks and also have to admit that the monotony of my schedule is getting to me. I want to do more, feel like I’m capable of more. And when I admit this, I hear a little voice ask me: are you capable of less? Can you handle not doing much of anything, of feeling powerless, of humbling yourself? It is humbling for me to be asked to do less, rather than more. It is a feeling of powerlessness to just sit and watch and wait.
Continuing on this theme of powerlessness, I still am not able to use my ATM card. That’s right. I last posted with great hope that the card I’d received would work. It did not. It seems that the pin number I requested was not given to me. In fact, my bank has still not issued a pin to me that will allow me to use the card. You can rest assured that I’ve raised a bit of heck, lodged an informal complaint, and am writing a formal one. It’s truly unbelievable…up until a week ago I’d been what I thought was incredibly patient and accommodating. And then when the pin number was not expedited along with the card, and further, wasn’t delivered! Well, as my sister Jo said, my Dutch-ness came out. (Another card is now on its way and I’m assured that the pin I requested will work this time).
Joel asked me the other day what I thought God was trying to tell me through this whole ATM fiasco. I was taken a bit off-guard as I hadn’t considered that God might be saying something to me (being the super-spiritual woman I am). I’ve thought about it since then and realize how directly related it is to the feeling of powerlessness that is so humbling to me. I hate having to ask others if I can borrow money to pay my rent or buy food. It makes me feel so reliant, so dependent on others. I feel so powerless. Like I can’t take of myself when I know I’m fully capable of doing such a thing.
So I sit here and wonder if I’m capable of anything less than simple dependence? No matter how powerless I feel, how incapable it leaves me. Will I allow myself to be stripped of my power, my independence, in order to be found in a spot of simple dependence not only God, but also on others? Will I allow my worth to stem not from what I am capable of doing (including taking care of myself), but from the value of community and humility, whose true essence can come only from a God who loves us more than we know?
I hope so, because it sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? It sounds like rest and hope and love. It sounds like reasons for celebrating and praising. It sounds like a future.
And, other than this, I’m continuing to learn Romanian and it’s going pretty well. My living situation is also fine…Irina’s a sweetheart. So easy-going. Although, most nights I fall asleep to the gentle rumble of her snoring and that can be distracting.
A few funny things I’ve seen or experienced: While walking to the center one morning I saw a man in purple camouflage. That’s right, purple. He was totally decked out like he was going to battle, so I’m pretty certain he was in the army or something. But I had to marvel at the color purple (not the movie). Maybe he’s going to battle on Venus or Jupiter, isn’t one of them a purple planet? Or to fight the flying purple people eaters.
Also, a couple weeks ago I showed up at the center without socks. Ana asked me: did you get funny looks on your way here today? I said that I did get a few looks. She said: it is not yet the time for no socks. Who knew that there was a time for socks and a time for not wearing socks? Even Solomon in all His wisdom failed to elucidate on the time for wearing socks.
And to end, I’d like to talk about my favorite parts of each day. So, while most days I may struggle with monotony and incapability, I, of course, have moments in each that I love. Like when this little, little guy, I mean he is a tiny kid, started pushing me on the tire swing and was catching air while he was doing it. We were both laughing. He also wears these glasses that are so dorky but so, so cute that you want to pinch his cheeks and tell him how cute he is. (Except he doesn’t have much of a cheek to pinch because he’s so little, and, anyway, it would probably freak him out if I did pinch him, but pinching cheeks is a trick of affection I learned from my Grandpa and every time I do it to a kid, I think of him pinching my cheek and telling me he loved me).
Also, I love when kids take out the music instruments. They can’t play a chord or note to save their lives, but they have the biggest grins when they are playing. Usually the instruments are the mandolin, a recorder, and a small drum. Sometimes the recorder gives me a headache because of the high pitch of the notes played, but when it’s first pulled out I almost always laugh because inevitably it’s this kid who for certain could be the Pied Piper and it just makes me giggle. Anyway, this little motley crew sits in a row, playing their instruments, smiling, and I have to believe that it’s a beautiful noise just for the simple joy that is given and taken.
One day, I was walking down the hall and caught the eye of this kid who has the most gorgeous brown eyes that sparkle with mischief and are lined with thick brown lashes. I sort of looked at him out the corner of my eye with a bit of a smirk as if to say: I know you’re up to something but I still think you’re such a doll. He laughed at me, I laughed at him, and I hold that moment, hoping that even though it was only a moment, so small, that such a moment can hold the capability of the incapable, of the dependent that humbly rely on the power and love of God.


Anonymous said...

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amanda said...

I'm not sure what to think of your first line. It seems mean to say that you aren't going to blog anymore and then continue on to write such great stuff. It would be much kinder if you just wrote junk and then quit :)


Jeff and Aimee: said...

Please don't stop blogging. You don't need to do it as often as you used to, but I know I'm not the only one who truly enjoys reading about your experiences (weird and wonderful alike). Puhleeeeeeeze?!?!?


angela said...

oh yes.... please tell us more stories. your narrative of your days is just so lovely. this can be a discipline that you, and we, benefit ;) hugs.

Liz said...

i like the daily routine... it can be discouraging and unglamorous though... but to us it's really beautiful and uplifting. will you write more of your poetry too? that's another that i always love to read... i miss you april.

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