This morning I'm hungry. I rarely wake up hungry but I also rarely wake up at 7am, that is now... that I'm not working. So I decided to cook rice and beans and veggies, Brazilian style. The beans take forever without a pressure cooker. I am still hungry.
I returned from Brazil a month ago Sunday. Life has been chaotic since that day. Since before that day really. I have been in Charleston, SC for 12 days, the longest I've been in one place since Thanksgiving.
Life hasn't felt "right" since I've come "home." Now, it's hard to go home when you don't know where home is. I guess I should be calling Charleston home now that I've been here almost two weeks but I'm not really working or engaged in much here yet. I have a couple friends but my journey has been so different from theirs that I feel alone.
Living in tight community like what we shared in Rio will do that to a person I feel. There were four Americans and one Brazilian living in a house in favela do Jacarezhinho. Not only was it sharing a lot of personal space but it was also sharing lots of new experiences together. Most of us were new to Brazil or new to Rio, we were new to working with kids and women living on the streets, new to talking Portuguese or English, new to cooking on more primitive appliances and having so many fresh exotic produce around. We shared every waking moment of our lives together for four months and then the umbilical cord was broken and we have split up across the United States. And so I have been mourning. Mourning and hungry.
Hungry not just for Brazilian food and culture but for community. For my fellow Americans who I shared so many unfamiliar experiences with and also for my adventurous Brazilian friends who hiked halfway across the megalopolis of Rio with me. These are the people my heart longs for right now.
Also, job searching is destroying my self-value. I feel like with every application I submit I'm trying to sell myself and many of the places where I'm applying, I know I can do better. I know I should be seeking meaningful work that serves a disadvantaged demographic but right now I'm tired. I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I'm mourning. So I seek easy work while I mourn, am tired and hungry.
Working with Word Made Flesh in Rio (again) reminded me what I was created for. Slaving away with no noticeable gains in Chicago was breaking my spirit and blinding me to God's purposes. No doubt I brightened someone's day, was a good friend to some, and did some "good" but my life was far from my calling. Now in Charleston I'm trying to find my focus, work towards obtaining a more long-term VISA for Brazil and building a support base. But in the meantime, wherever I work, whatever community I find here, I want this life to be glorifying to God as well. I want this chapter of my life to edifying to the whole story, not another step back or a point of stagnation.
My heart is still in Rio. My body has returned but my heart is still in Rio and this makes me a hungry, tired, mourning mess. Please pray for my friends who are also recovering from their time in Brazil and also my friends in Brazil who are facing the constant rains.