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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Respect Mah Authoritah!

Respect Mah Authoritah! For those of you who don't get this, it's a very famous line from the infamous cartoon "South Park". And no, I am not a fan of nor will I be putting a picture of south park characters or adding the link to their official website. But I did think that quote seemed quite appropriate for the theme of my blog today as I reflect on all that has happened within the last 5 or 6 weeks and especially the last 2 weeks with the success of the website. Some days, I get up and I look at it and I can't believe that those are my blogs (I actually wrote those!), that is my website, and the counter that counts the number of different individuals that have been there read 385. And I also can't believe that we are officially on Google's search engine. Both seeing the website and my vision to teach english come to life takes my breath away every single time I think about it.

This experience of working with the church and seeing how they transformed my idea into a living, breathing, reality has done so much inside of me. The area that I think I've experienced the most healing is in my relationship with authority. Like some of you out there, I've been hurt by authority and I've seen the idea of authority abused in my family, in churches I've been in , and even in places that I have worked at. So it would be natural for me to be abit nervous when presenting my ideas to leadership in a foreign country in a foreign language in another culture.

When all this started, there was a part of me that did not want to share my idea at all and maybe keep it as something personal where I'll just teach english casually to a few of my buddies. It is easy to see the reason that I feel this way. I can sum it up in one word.......FEAR. Fear that someone is going to hear my idea, take it, and then go on a power trip and say "You can't do this" or "You can't do that". And tell me what to do, not for the safety or benefit of people in church but just because they want control. Or even worse is when authority tries to control me personally and tell me who I can or can't make friends with etc. It makes it even harder when they tell you that biblically they have the right to do this.

Again, I chose to give this church a clean slate and shake off my past experiences and give this a shot. And I experienced quite the opposite. People were kind, open-minded and treated me with respect. I literally got told "You are exactly what we need in this church" Internally, they are very well organized and efficient. All they wanted was to take this idea and make it the best that it can be. No more and no less. If trust were a bridge, then I would say that my bridge has been broken many times by people wanting to chop it up and make it into firewood for their own purposes. Before, I feared being part of team meant that I would lose a vision that is special to me due to abuses to authority. They have a healthy and strong team mentality here and people are very direct, open, and honest and quick to get things implemented. But now, everything is being realized in a way that goes beyond my wildest imaginings as a writer.

Being in a country where people have much less I think does make a difference. Having little money and houses with much less things for entertainment and being a culture where entertainment is not a big thing, I do find that people have less distractions. But I think that not having those things keeps them in peak mental, emotional, and spiritual conditions. I tell them that here in North America, people will come home from work and be like "I'm so tired. I know I should pray or I should study or do something to better myself." They they'll look at their huge 64 inch plasma screen and their gigantic stereo and be like "I'll do it tomorrow." Whenever I tell this to people, they always burst into peals of laughter.

Another thing that has really helped me heal is the way that this church, the people do exactly what they will say. When they say that they are going to set up a meeting or something is happening, they mean literally that. They don't say things that they aren't going to actively put a plan to. I have had a history in which I feel like for me, I feel assured by another party and get told "It will be fine." or "I'll take care of it". And long story short, the ball gets dropped and I have to take charge. I feel in my life that I keep having to take charge and take over things that were never meant to be my responsibility or I took over something, thinking that it would be short term but I ended up having to take charge for a much longer period than what I initially thought.

I'm actually quite the opposite character. It is very rare that I tell you that I'm going to do something or "this is what will be happening" and then it doesn't happen. The moment I tell you that I'm going to do something, I almost immediately from that moment begin putting my plan into action, organizing and getting things ready so that what ends up happening is that my reputation for keeping my word is stronger than steel. Basically I will go to the ends of the earths to keep my end and make sure that whatever i tell you would happen, actually happens. And it is fantastic working with people who are like-minded.

It just seemed like yesterday that I found myself casually suggesting to some of the church members that it would be great if I could give some english lessons informally just to help them out abit. 5 weeks ago, a simple idea popped into my head to maybe email the pastor of the church, introduce myself and share my heart to teach english to the people. 5 weeks later, after multiple emails and various meetings, I sit here on the very eve before the pastor is going to announce the new program we are developing to the congregation Sunday morning tomorrow. What started as a dream and a simple thought in my heart is now having life and breathed into it by this church body. They caught this vision that I have, and took it farther than I ever dreamed possible. And it is only within the last day or so that I realized that I was no longer jobless. But instead, I would begin a respectable new career as creative coordinator of english development starting April or May.

One of the things that I've always been taught in the Christian faith is that sometimes, you will go through a season in your life where you feel like God is asking you to honor the vision of another person and to help them and support them. And when you show character and humility and commitment in pouring your best into another person's idea or project, one day you're going to be given your own vision that you will see brought to life. Because you were faithful during that season where you were "underground". Nobody knew your name but you gave your best into a vision that wasn't your own. Then one day, your days comes.

For many years before this I was involved in many situations that would test my character. And I came to Buenos Aires being assigned to one person to teach them english. I gave it my full commitment and taught it successfully. The plan was that after 6 months, that would be the end of my journey. But it looks like I've gone from being entrusted with teaching english to one person to being entrusted to a whole community of people. And I think it is safe to say that my day has come and I am coming into full bloom.

But it is more than just is about justice and fairness being implemented. The girl who was once shamed, mocked, and ridiculed is now in a place of honor. I had people who in my life have made patronizing comments to me, took stabs at the integrity of my character, and subjected me to "put downs". But I didn't retaliate or raise my voice or try to take cheapshots back. In my mind, they have had their day. If they want to feel all powerful for that very moment, they have got their only reward. Where once I felt powerless and in the dark with no voice, now with the crazy success of the website, I do have a voice and everyone is listening to what I have to say. The ugly duckling really did become a swan who is now gliding beautifully through the air for all the world to see! It all comes full circle!


p.s. A blog that I think would be a great tie in with the one that I just wrote here is a blog called "From Birth to Conception". It is a blog I wrote after a milonga my friend Kikki held at her and Eduardo's new studio. The theme of the blog is about watching dreams come to life and that nite at the fiesta, I was watching Kikki's dream come to full conception with the opening of the studio.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas