Lonely Part II …. Clarification

It seems as though I have caused a tad bit of confusion and quite honestly I have offended some with my last blog post.  Please understand this was not my intention.  When I speak about Guatemala I always say I learned so much there.  One thing I have learned upon coming back home is that I should not say or write anything while my mind is so clouded.  Things do not seem to come out of my mind in the way I mean them right now.  They lack clarity and they have a harshness to them that I do not mean.  Those that know me are shocked by my attitude.  I have been approached by so many telling me that my last blog was harsh… or mean… or offensive.  I feel terrible that people have taken it in a way it was not meant.  I am trying to articulate feelings and thoughts that cannot be articulated yet.  They seem harsh because I just came from a harsh place.  Thoughts are muddled in my own mind and if I cannot totally make sense of them, how can I expect others to?  That is my fault and I should have known better.

I re-read my blog…. several times… What offended some the most was how I came across.  That Canada sucks and Guatemala is amazing.  People here suck and people there are amazing.  That could not be further from the truth.  But in my re-reading I see now how it was worded.  I did not do a good job in articulating what I was trying to say.  What happened in my writing was me trying very hard to compare apples to oranges… it simply cannot be done. The problem with my last blog that got to so many, was my use of the word ‘community’ and how we don’t have it here in Canada.  I overstated the point… in a way that made sense in my head and does when I explain it face to face with people…. but totally gets misinterpreted in the semi-impersonal world of writing.  Happens so often when we write… without expression & body language and a forum for others to jump in and ask questions,  things get jumbled…. Compound that with the thoughts being jumbled in my head, and that is not good….. lesson learned…

There is community here… strong, solid and good….  it is just a different type of community for a different part of the world.  Apples to oranges…. I stand by what I feel in the way that it can be at times an unhealthy type of community.  I love the people that surround me.  None of what I do or pieces of who I am could be without them.  But people, me included, sometimes seem discontent… busy… distant… it makes me sad…   People… friends, family, neighbours, strangers,  in our community live with loneliness and despair and we are clueless to their plights at times.  People in my own community are clueless to my plight… both my fault and theirs….  We are all guilty of it… whether here or in any other part of the world.  It is a broken world… everywhere… filled with broken people… everywhere…

Coming back from a mission experience of any kind, whether short term, or long term has its pieces.  Pieces of beauty and pieces of ugliness too.  You return with an extreme desire to fix things…. to fix people… to fix problems… to fix everything.   You want to scream from the rooftops how everything you see seems out of sync.  Make no mistake,  that is MY problem and not YOURS.  It is something that those returning have to deal with.  They have counsellors that deal only in this specific type of reverse culture shock for missionaries.  There is a very good and valid reason for those counsellors.  You cannot hold a dying child in your arms and not be affected… not be different… not be harsh at times.  I have had people say to me, “you have to be patient with us back home… we cannot understand”.  I have to say the same things to you… “Be patient with me…. you cannot understand…I have held the dying child.”….. Everyone is unique… and we all process things differently.  No one can totally understand how I personally process things.  And I cannot expect anyone to.   Its like I have been blindfolded and spun around.  Someone has stopped spinning me and removed the blindfold only part way and placed me in a place that is familiar yet unfamiliar.  Now I am dizzy &  disoriented and trying to find my way.  But I am only sure of one direction…. forward… but forward seems unattainable while my brain tries to re-orient itself and my eyes can’t really focus yet.

The bottom line is…. love one another… those that are close to you… and those that are distant.  Reach out to those you don’t know in small ways… they mean so much.  Take time away from completing tasks, from work… from extracurricular activities… from your “stuff”… whatever your stuff is…. take time from it and love on someone.  From the outside looking in (which is where I feel now at times both here and in Guatemala) it seems to me that people have been so busy with their stuff that they have lost sight of that.  I was one of the worst people for that… always surrounded by ‘have to’s’ … drop some have to’s and live… and love.  Yourself… and others.  It’s a lesson I learned during my time away.  And one I am still struggling to process completely.

Let me clarify things…. I love my life here.. I love my life in Guatemala.  I love my people here… I love my people in Guatemala.   There are so many things we do so much better here… there are so many things they do so much better there.  Apples to oranges….  People ask me, will you miss here at all?  Of course I will.  But, I know that this is the path that God has me on and I accept that.  Gladly and with a humble heart….. I am very passionate about this ministry that God has put on our hearts.  BUT, I am terrified.  Packing my life into 10 boxes … leaving family and friends… leaving my community…. starting over.  Terrifying stuff.   But I am also excited to begin a new adventure.  One that I want every single one of my community here to be a part of… because I cannot do this alone.  None of my family can.  This is not our thing… this is God’s thing…. and it can only work if we do it together, however that looks.

Once again, if you are one of those I offended… please don’t be offended… It was never my intention to hurt anyone… don’t give up on me.  I have changed in many ways, but I am the same person inside.  Many who have seen me personally have said I seem lost… I am lost.  About that I cannot lie.  I need you…. I need prayer… I need help… I need time… I need so many things.  Its not easy for me to say these things.  I am inherently a very independent person and admitting my need is a tough thing for me.  One of the biggest things I need is your understanding…. your patience and your love.

God bless you all!

About ritadoppenberg

I am a wife, mom, missionary.... generally a human being who along with God, my family, friends and Commission to Every Nation (CTEN) Canada, seek to "Be The Change"...

Posted on May 30, 2012, in Guatemala Missionary, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Rita,

    i love your honesty, and your LOVE! that is the key…i know you love those in Canada (and other places too!), who mean a LOT to you, and your family. This is a love that has grown over time…. you also do LOVE those in Guatemala! that is a love that has developed in just the last few years. caring, loving, honesty…strengths!!!

    your caring heart for what you do in your ministry is what attracts us to you and your story. you are honest, caring, and LOVING too…you even have blogged about how much you have changed! that change happened quickly! you were thrown ‘into the fire’ and you found a way to be needed and used! God is good! remember the first Christmas blog? about some of the trappings that seemed so important! you have come soooo far, and we have grown with you!

    i think one of the differences i see in your blogs/life/work/witness, is that you have been working in (and will work in again) a place where you Have to have community. the community we have in our non-third world countries are Chosen Communities, whereas in Guatemala, you MUST be community to each other…where you are…or you will die. that is a huge difference!

    complacency is an ‘easy’ place for us, who are on the sidelines, to be! this does not mean that it is a good thing.

    i truly believe that the Lord puts people in our hearts and lives to pray for, and to support in any way we are able. you have touched our hearts with your honesty in your work, and the people you met…with their many different situations. you showed us your heart and your soul while working with life/death situations…we wept with you, laughed, felt joy and love for your precious people around you and your family…this makes it easy for us (is that good?) to support you and your work.

    your last blog was no different from your other blogs…you were being truly honest, and showing us how it looks to return to a non third-world country…and especially the torn feelings you have. it is nice that you wrote this blog entry, to clarify some of your feelings…i will continue to look for the honesty and … well, the rawness of how life really is!

    sorry this is so long, but i want you to know that we care, and that we love you….no matter what you write! your ‘voice’ is the same…and frankly, it helps us understand a little bit better how hard it is in different parts of the world, where we want to make a difference in the Lord’s name!

    hugs to you all….. grace

  2. Hi Rita,

    please do not feel like you need to sensor your blog. Write from your heart and share everything you feel comfortable sharing. You need not question your journey and what you share but question why what you are writing makes that person so uncomfortable, what is happening to them in their lives that it is causing that reaction. How people react is not your responsibility.

    I just went off in my response and deleted it because I just don’t get people. ugh

    Stay true to yourself.
    Speak from your heart.
    Know that you are making a difference.
    Continue to share with those who have not had the honour of your experiences and lessons.
    You are loved and respected AS YOU ARE.

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