Uniting Brazil (intro)

Updates on the Brazilian mission

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Keeping Character

I am definitely a child of Hollywood, and it really impacts my life at times. For example, when you watch a crime series on tv, sometimes the most random thing suddenly happens, and you know that that's going to be important in figuring out whodunnit! Then when something random happens to me in real life, I inadvertently build up a degree of apprehension for the unveiling as to it's significance. Which, of course, rarely happens. I had to get an unscheduled Yellow Fever shot while boarding a plane last week, and I walked away from it thinking, "I wonder when the lesson from that experience will show it's face."

Given this kind of Hollywood mind-set, I was always under the impression that my parents were deeply in love at all times, and would always want to go on a first date with each other. I mean, that's how we're taught marriage works on tv. A couple meet each other, they fall in love, and are always and forever infatuated with each other. If they're not, well then they were never meant to be together in the first place.


I have seen some really broken hearts who have found this to be a lie we've been fed. But, to be fair, it sells some pretty decent movies.

My father had a stroke in 2002, at a relatively young age. This was a major stroke in the left hemisphere of the brain, which is the section that controls, for the most part, your logic (as well as the right side of your body...just FYI). For a man who was running his own business as a structural engineer, and was a genius with numbers, this was, of course, a drastically life changing event. But, my dad's always been a fighter, and he showed huge amounts of strength soon after this happened. He wouldn't show his internal fight with any of us, but we learned later on that he would secretly go to the bottom of the garden and let out a bit of a cry on his own. His life had suddenly been torn apart completely outside of his control or influence.

The next person in line that it affected the most was my mom, of course. The man she'd chosen to marry, this diamond, pearl, prince, one-of-a-kind man literally became someone else overnight.

After a few years I was talking to my mom about the situation, and said to her something along the lines of, "...but you're still in love with dad, right?" Her response completely shocked me. It was probably the wisest and most challenging thing I'd ever heard up to that point in my life. It was definitely not the answer I wanted to hear, and was even initially a little bit disappointed. She was supposed to answer, "Yes, of course! Crazy in love!" You know, like a teenager, or Rose from Titanic ready to abandon her future of prominence for this love.

Not my mom. At this stage, she answered a little shyly, and almost uncertainly, "Is it even about that? Or is it about a promise I made to God all those years ago?"

Wow. It took me a few days of mulling this over in my small mind before I realized the weight of this. She had made a choice that, for better or worse, no matter what she would stay faithful and loving to my dad. She had no idea the situation that it would get her into about 22 years later.

I made a choice. My decision was to answer "yes" to God's call to come to Brazil and work with street kids. I had no idea that this would mean being completely abandoned to myself. No friends, no family, and now, here in Brazil, almost no one to hold a conversation with because I'm the only English speaking person around. On my second day here I almost went into a panic because I could suddenly feel the weight of all that I'd left behind, as well as the drastic isolation and difficult position that I now found myself in. Now, honestly, the thought of turning back never entered my head, but the thought of going on seemed impossible.

That's when I remembered the attitude of my mom. She had now shown me first hand what it meant to stick to your promise made to God, and I fully intend to follow in her footsteps