I am sitting here (listening to the clacking heels of my neighbor just arriving and the various yelping dogs) and sipping on some wonderful "I Love Lemon" Bigelow tea. And I wonder, how did lemons ever get a bad rap? What did they do to deserve being smeared across ugly stories of car sales gone wrong? Well, I am here to pay some narrative (and philosophical) restitution. I love lemons! And I propose that the situations we written off as sour may actually be sweet in disguise.
Case in point:
Though I tend to lean toward optimism, the back of my mind keeps pounding on the front door saying, "Why did you leave that safe mountain?" My closest friends from last year still live there, along with all the amazing new staff. Ministry events happen there. Cleaner air is there. Carpooling happens and hikes happen and impromptu worship sessions happen and all sorts of good things happen up there.
I re-read my blog from yesterday and God is so faithful to point out where we are blessed! But, tonight, whatever was left in a "lemon story" of my move down the mountain is gone and all that remains is the sweet tasting "I Love Lemon" tea my grandma so thoughtfully sent with me when I left the states.
I just got back from a beautiful prayer meeting at church. I'm going to a different church now, in El Centro (the center of the city) and its close enough that I can walk or use public transportation (in daylight, of course). I have several co-workers who attend the church, but for some reason never tried it out. I have this strange fear of looking flimsy when it comes to commitments, so when I start something out I try to stick to it (which meant a whole year of commitment to Impacto last year).
I went last Sunday for the first time and it felt so good to worship in Spanish again! I also saw several boys from the Micah Project (the street kid ministry I keep talking about) and I finally started to see my worlds merging... local church with outreach and outreach with work. It's crazy how the mind tries to keep those separate. Anyway, I loved the service and I felt the pastor really spoke Truth from the Word.
A chaplain from another school also goes to that church and I recognized him at the service. He invited me to the Micah Project service that same night and I'm so glad I went. He knew I was still trying to decide about churches, but he sent me a message letting me know about the prayer meeting tonight. After a crazy day at work, I needed a good walk and mid-week reminder of the Lord's purpose, so I went. What a blessed night it was!
Standing there, singing "De Los Montes" and truly believing the words, I was swept up by a new sense of 'locality' that I never felt last year. I went to the service by myself and afterwards met many beautiful people afterwards. I am always amazed at how gracious people can be with a stuttering second language speaker! I met Johanna, who sings in the band, and she is studying psychology at the university and wants to get together to "hang out." And, I found out Santa Maria and her family live close to me (they gave me a ride home!) and they invited me over for baleadas!
With all of this confirmation, it is so very clear God desires the city to be a place where I love lemons. I think we sometimes look at situations that surprise or disappoint us and say, "Well, I guess you'll have to make do." or "Maybe this season is just mean to be a bit sour."
I think different.
Situations that surprise or even disappoint are often about to be the most wonderful we've ever experienced.
... I got all that out of one cup of "I Love Lemon" tea.
Wow. Thanks, grandma!