Becoming…The Journey to Lose Myself in an Amazon Village.
Today started in the city, at about 6:30 with a cup of coffee, one last huge bowl of homemade yogurt, a sinkful of dishes to wash, a freezer to defrost, several Psalms, and internet that only worked for about 10 minutes, with the backdrop of traffic sounds, dogs barking, and heat that starts way too early in the day.
Today ends in the village, just after 10 PM, half an hour after “lights out”, with a few bugs attracted to the laptop’s glow, half-unpacked boxes of clothes and groceries all around, lots of cleaning tasks to be done tomorrow (or whenever), crickets chirping in my house, and a veritable jungle orchestra outside, comprised of birds, insects, frogs, and other creatures whose voices I have not yet learned to identify. It is not a quiet place, but the peaceful noises of nature beat the cacophony of the city any day.
True, there were so many things I didn’t get done in the city, some rather important. So many things I wanted to talk about with my mom and sister, but our conversations were never quite long enough to remember it all. But those things don’t seem to matter quite so much now that I’m here. They can wait until December. The wish that I could have finished my to-do list is overshadowed by relief to be finished with the in-transit sensation of waiting and hoping a ride will appear.
My heart has already made the transition from city to village. Let’s just hope the brain is quick to follow, making the most of every day, grasping linguistic concepts quickly, learning with a new vigor inspired by the delay in returning. It was actually only 5 extra days in the city, but seemed longer in my eagerness to return to the exciting routine of community, friends, language learning, and jungle life. I am home.
Home is a strange concept in the missionary heart, by the way. Just a month ago, I was talking about how wonderful it was to be home…back in Lewis County, with family, church, friends, eating sweet corn and peaches, talking and praying and worshipping God with other believers in English, wading in creeks, searching for monarch caterpillars, and sniffing the fragrance only furnished by dairy farms.
And now I’m talking as if that faraway land were a dream, or a place I don’t really care about. While I obviously know it’s real, and still care deeply about people and events there, it is no longer my primary residence.
No, I am not in the same geographical location as the people I love best, my family, because that would be Lewis County, or Colorado, or Heaven, come to think of it. But home can also be defined as the place in which we belong, whether this belonging is determined by choice, God’s calling, heart ties, family bonds, friendships material possessions, or other factors.
All things considered, out of all the many places on earth that I hold dear, this tiny Amazon village truly is the place where I most belong right now. I let go of so much to come here, you know; it was no whim or hasty decision. It was a choice and commitment made in obedience to the Great Commission and Holy Spirit’s leading as doors opened for me to come here specifically. And as I left one home, God gave me another, just as He did back in 2008 in Itapecerica da Serra, São Paulo. But don’t worry – I still consider Lewis County home also, and will always come back to visit and love every day spent there with all of you. Logical or not, it seems we missionaries have a proclivity for claiming many homes, in widely scattered locations. But enough reflections regarding home.
Tonight I look forward to the rest almost guaranteed to relax my body, soul and spirit. It’s more than just the pleasantly cool temperature for sleeping, the jungle lullaby, and perhaps a rainy drizzle on my thatch roof. Rest will be sweet because I am finally back home, in this place where God has called me, to live and love and work and give, and just…become whoever it is that He wants me to be, for His glory among this people.