This is my first blog, and today is the first post.
I really had never intended to blog until I left my diary in Charles' office. Charles is the new office manager at our church, and I used the church office to email him stuff I've already eamiled him and he asked for again in our meeting.
While I was there, I checked a few things in my diary (or pocket calendar, as I always called it before we moved to South Africa), and later realized I had left it there, via an email from Charles later. The subject line was "Janet's Diary". After reading it Mario said that the subject line sparked an idea: what if I did a daily blog about our lives here?
I smirked at him. What would I write? What would I say? Then I was filled with a flood of things to say... as in the things I can only think. The things I have learned all my life NOT to say. The things that are dying to come out like "King Midas has donkey ears". Especially here.
So, with my self-important soap box and my incredibly brazen title ("Janet's diary" was taken, so don't think I settled on this title easily) I begin a discipline of blogging. This place, this blogspot is so anonymous, so beautifully tucked away in cyberspace my secrets thoughts can remain relatively secret and my revelations and reflections can be shared when they matter.
So here's my confession: We moved here three years ago in June from California. Our hearts were set on following the calling of God on our lives before we got too old or too much time past away... we sold or gave away 95% of everything and came to South Africa to be part of a larger team that worked into all of Africa and helped churches spread the beautiful, freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were sent off with a half-hearted blessing by people we loved and preffered us closeby... and we went. We practically left skid marks, we were so ready to go.
Three years later, I look back and the only thing still the same is the beautiful, freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even so, it seems abridged here. I can say in print here what I say with my behaviour (see my "U"?)and my eye-rolling superiority that is heavily guarded and still comes out much too often: the society here leaves no opening for what I thought I would be coming to do-- be my husbands partner in ministry and unashamedly preach the Gospel that changed my life and now defines me.
Many times, I feel like asking people if they're serious. Are you really this sexist? Does all of this ecomomic inequality ever bother you? Can you ever expect good service in a country that has every right to demand it? Are you really satisfied with racism, sexism, culturalism, tribalism, and now and then the occasional breakthrough??
This land's reputation of an open heaven and people longing for the presence of God is well-deserved. It is only the days that I miss my family that the flood of emotion swells up in me and I fear that I will never be known here. I am a different Janet here.
With all of this said, I can show Mario and he'll say "I know this is how you feel!" as if he were not surprised. He is my sounding board here, a position he never asked for and probably regrets he has most times. So, he's heard all of what I've just written, and many times asks me if I am longing to go home to the States and be a grandma to our grandchildren and a mother to our kids and a daughter to my parents.
I think this question over and only have one way of answering it: where am I supposed to be? The best answer is "Next to Mario". Maybe there are better answers on different days. The truth is, I want to be both places, and when I am in one place I miss the other.
There (the USA) I am fed up with the Starbucks crowd living for themselves and never seeing past their own lives to the rest of the world; here (the RSA) I am pretty sure I am fed up with the slow service, the underlying racism, the sexism (even in the church) and the way no one remembers that I am separated from my kids and my family.
I have a heart in two worlds now. Both I love with all of my heart...both are absent of completion. And here I am blogging to say that I have no way of personally rectifying either. I just think I can sometimes.
So how was that? My first blog.