Words, words, words.

It’s been said that the key to a good blog is consistency.

Hm. Oops.

 

Wellllll either way, here I amm… writing a blog.

This is actually the third time I’ve sat down to write one, amongst a few ranty note-drafts in my iPhone… but one of those times the draft got deleted and the other times the post was just too directionless so I decided to scrap it.

This is incredibly strange for me! Clearly I have been half-heartedly attempting to write a blog for a long time now (most of March), and still: nothin. I ALWAYS have things to say, but since I’ve been here something must have changed in me.

I haveΒ thoughts about important issues, and things to say. But lately I’ve been failing to see a good reason to actually come out and say most of them.

After some thought, I’ve realized it’s probably because here in Spain, communication is so much more difficult for me. I can speak Spanish now for the most part, this is true. But when I am required to there is always so much pressure… (Presentation in class, class dicussion where I have to articulate well, family lunch where I can’t really get a word in edgewise anyway, ect). So I’ve learned to choose the times when I actually try and fully explain my thought process or point or view about something, and when I simply let it be. Truth be told, most of the time when I DO explain my perspective, it doesn’t quite create more mutual understanding. This is one of the funniest things to me about Spanish culture. At least, I have to laugh, there’s no other way to react. You learn to have a sense of humor.

 

For instance: I’ve tried to tell my host mom that I don’t want milk products when I have a cold, because dairy coats your throat and procuces more mucus. Right? This is at least true in our culture. In high school I wasn’t allowed to drink milk every Thursday-Saturday, February through April because of show choir competitions on weekends… I’ve had full-blown LECTURES on the affect of dairy on your vocal system! But when I state this my host mom just looks at me like I am from another planet. Then today, when I told her I’ve been coughing and my throat hurt, she said she’d make me some hot milk tonight to drink before I go to sleep, so I can sing at church in the morning.

Smh.

Another example: the Spanish are very direct. And I speak from all my experiences with people here, but especially my host family. It’s possible that this is just a personality distinction, because most other people I’ve met are cheery and polite. But the people in my host family are very quick to say what is on their mind, and literally every lunch is a war of words that lasts quite a while and goes nowhere. But yet, not over super important things. Over silly things like what color the street sign is on Calle Jose Zorrilla, or if this certain type of beer is made in Germany or Switzerland, or whatever it may be. I have to say I’ve learned from this as well.. sometimes it just seems like a wasting of words. They talk about seemingly nothing with very few pauses, and while this may be cultural it’s caused me to step back and examine the manner in which I myself communicate.

 

It’s proven true as an extranjera in Spain that simply letting myself being misunderstood or unknown, as long as I understand myself, is sometimes better than wasting my words. All this to say, I’ve realized that this is rubbing off on my mentality about blogging, and chosing medium of expression thoughtfully.

Since being here, I’ve developed even stronger ideas about the world… about a lot of things. But I’ve also become even more open-minded. I’ve seen people recklessly share their opinion, with no awareness that they are hurting others by speaking it without love and tact. I’ve met people that don’t fit any sort of mold or set of standards in Christian culture, yet love God. I’ve made my own mistakes; I’ve let words fly or formed judgements that I was later completely wrong about.

 

Because of all this I’ve recently been reminded of the lovely acronym “W.A.I.T. — Why Am I Talking?” Haha. πŸ™‚ I heard it first in a talk at the Panama City Beach Spring Break conference last year. The speaker gave us some wise advice to ask ourselves the acronym when we were speaking with someone new or evangelizing. Why am I talking? Is this loving towards the other person? Am I speaking because I want to be heard and understood rather than speaking in the best interest of someone other than myself?

It was really convincting for me at the time! As a good ‘ole verbal processor, it’s easy for me to speak without more reason than to process what’s in my head, at the expense of the listener. Or blog lots of unneeded details. Or, the classic reason, in order to avoid awkwardness. πŸ™‚ Β I’ve changed a lot, though, surprisingly. This is all the grace of God. He’s taught me how to be a listener – a questioner – amidst my talker-tendancies.

 

So here amongst a culture of talkers, I’m reminded that words are precious. And each time I sit down to write a blog, I just can’t seem to formulate anything tactful and articulate enough to be worth sending out into the worldwide web. There’s enough crap floatin’ around, you know?? I don’t think it’s any secret that more discretion could always be used within the everyday world of social media.

 

BUT – and here’s the crux of the matter – I have to remember to balance using discretion with actually USING my voice. God’s made me to be someone who speaks up, who creates, who shares life with others. So I’m not going to stop.Β 

Lucille Ball said it well:

β€œI’d rather regret the things that I have done, than the things that I have not.” 

I don’t want to never speak up or never use my voice simply because it feels like no one’s listening, or because is seems like it’s been said before. But this is a call to find the balance, somewhere in there. It’s part of the art of being a communicator. What you choose to say is equal parts important as how you say it.

The blog today is the 21st century version of the Enlightenment era’s pamphlet. You know, those little publications people used to write? Anyone could speak out, but only a few of the things that were said actually made a difference. I think it’s okay to post things that don’t have huge eternal impact, but this is just something I’ve been thinking about lately. The goal is always to have a positive Kingdom impact. If I want to make a difference with what I put out to the world, it needs to be thought out. There needs to be artistry.

 

So will I ever write a blog about the frustrations I have with the modern Church and the way it often misrepresents Jesus? Probably not, I see no point in joining the throng that is already complaining. But maybe I’ll make a painting about it; a single cry to represent the people who have been affected.

Will I write more about living in Spain? Yes, but I currently have no way to draw digestable themes because I’m in the thick of it all, and everything feels so fragmented and hard to make sense of.

Will I talk, sing, write, draw, and dance about seeing God’s amazing grace in my life? Yes, again and again. And here’s something I just verbally processed: it’s never a waste of breath or energy to give praise and speak of the glory of God. Dang, how true is that? Maybe I should have just written a whole post about seeing God’s grace here. Oh well, too late. Guess that’s my next blog topic πŸ˜‰

 

So I suppose this post is literally the best way I can explain why I haven’t been blogging. What can I say that will be encouraging and a blessing to read, yet authentic and insightful? Or at least funny? If nothing else, short? Sometimes, I’m not sure. But I want to keep blogging. I guess that’s why I wrote this, even if it doesn’t show much about my life here in Spain. I gotta keep saying things, as well as making sure they’re things worth saying.

 

Well, until my next, hopefully shorter, hopefully meaningful blog post!

Dios os bendiga πŸ™‚

Jordan

Advertisements

growth.

Hey friends! Quick update πŸ™‚

This is midterm week here coming up, so I should be studying, but I figured I haven’t posted in a bit and I should before this week gets crazy!

Things are feeling/going much better as the transition to living in another country continues to run its course. Little tweaks in lifestyle and perspective here and there have made it so I can now truly walk through this experience with appreciation and gratitude. Eyes wide open, Β soaking it all in instead of getting caught up on the negatives or mild discomforts.

There are a few things I’ve found here that have slowly turned my experience into one of finding where I fit in, and getting things done instead of confusion and.. more confusion. There have been growing pains, but that just means there’s been growth. πŸ™‚

1) Iglesia Evangelica de Segovia. This is the church some of us have been attending here. It’s small, so the first couple times we went they had us stand up and introduce ourselves during the service announcements. They have been incredibly welcoming. Last week during announcements they said there was choir practice Sunday nights, and after the service I asked if just anyone could join. Turns out Estrella, who is the pastor’s wife and one of the women who has made a point to greet and welcome us each week, is the director. She told Melinda and I we were welcome to come to rehearsal! So, now Melinda and I are in the choir. πŸ™‚ We had our second rehearsal tonight. Fernando, the pastor, is part of the choir as are he and Estrella’s two sons, Moises and Samuel. There are a few other people in the choir but mostly I feel like Melinda and I joined their family band. They sometimes argue over which key the music is in, or which harmony is correct, and honestly it makes me feel right at home. πŸ™‚ Tonight the pastor took some pictures during the rehearsal.

 

SONY DSC

 

Da ladiez

SONY DSC

 

Haha we all look so confused. Me asking Estrella about our part πŸ˜›

SONY DSC

 

El coro y banda πŸ™‚

 

It’s just a church choir, but the experience has been great because the people are so funny and caring. I feel like they really care about our lives, safety, and even comfort here in Segovia. I’ll be sad to leave them!!

 

2) Finding this nearby university.

photo-2

You’d think I would have thought to find a university campus earlier, but there was so much exploring to be done, none of us had gone yet. But we went on a fluke trip to a church bible study (couldn’t find them because we went to the wrong university), but I stayed that day to explore, and now I love this place. The best thing is they have free wifi. But other good things are the cheap food in the cafeteria, a quiet library, and a vending machine with 70 cent coffee. The campus is also beautiful, and incredibly diverse. Hanging out on the campus I will usually hear English conversations in several different accents, along with conversations in Spanish and several other languages. I love being around the students, because I feel like everyone has the same mindset. Living in the Old Segovia city center, sometimes I feel like every night is a festival and every day is a shopping excursion for the people who walk the streets. Usually to do homework we need wifi so we’ll go to a cafe, and everyone else is eating and socializing while we’re studying. It makes you feel out of place. But in the university everyone is also being studious and trying to get things done. Β It feels so much better, like maybe we’re not just weirdo international students who study all the time. πŸ˜›

 

3) Group bible study. Every Thursday night a group of us have been getting together to study 2 Corinthians and talk about being believers here in Spain. It’s been such a blessing to share life together in a more real way, and talk about struggles and joys. Hearing the stories of some of these women have spurred me on towards choosing joy, having a grateful perspective, and have led me to contemplate what it truly means to be a loving person… not just in Spain, but in general. One of the girls, Emmie, who has traveled like this before, was talking last time about the discomfort aspect, and the appreciation it produces. While she was talking something fully clicked for me… the experience of traveling is for the adventure, yes, but the biggest thing it does is produce this sort of grander understanding of the world and life that might not be attainable without living in another culture. It produces an understanding of what we’ve been given living in the U.S., but it’s not the clichΓ© “knowing,” like when your mom tells you to eat your peas because there are kids in Africa who don’t have food. It’s this deep knowing in your soul that you will never look at the people or things in your life the same way. It’s the small things, all rolled into a big bundle. Peanut butter toast on multigrain bread with greek yogurt for breakfast. Hairdryers. Machine washed and dried clothes. People who can fully understand what you are asking them. Stability of people and places. But more than that, it’s the deep knowing that after all, many of the luxuries I value don’t actually matter. They’re just that, luxuries, and maybe my own version of the “right” way to live isn’t the only right way. Friends, in America we live in utmost comfort. It’s just a million tiny little things… but even people here in Europe just really don’t live like we do, with so many things to make life easier. I haven’t decided yet which life I prefer, but I know that right now I’m learning valuable things I’ll never forget, including the Spanish language and more about loving others. I feel incredibly grateful.

 

Post coming soon about ministry aspects of Spain, and some other things the Lord has been teaching me. But probably after midterm week. πŸ™‚

528090_10200528865002310_585487545_n

 

Dios os bendiga (From Toledo) πŸ™‚

Mucho amor, hasta luego!