2.08.2010

A big fat THANK YOU, and some other stuff, too.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that somebody’s got your back... or your backside....


One of the perks of being a missionary is that you get to show off your country of residence when people visit. Being a missionary in Costa Rica means that you get to take people to see monkeys, and big crocodiles, and amazing beaches, and volcanoes, and stuff like that. Our favorite place to take people is a place called “Tres Pilas”, the “three sinks”. It’s a series of three small waterfalls that cascade one into another, and the “sinks” are the impossibly deep pools at the base of each fall.


This place is waaaay off the beaten path. Several miles into the date palm plantations on terrible dirt roads, and then farther, into the forrest, until you finally come to the front yard of a random house in the middle of nowhere. There, you pay the homeowner to park your car in her yard, and you ask permission to visit “the sinks”. You then have to make your way through a field, across a stream, through a cow-pasture (where there are several loose bulls ready to gore your face off) and then into the jungle where a muddy path will lead you to the waterfalls. It’s quite an adventure. And one of our favorite places on Earth.


A couple of years ago, we had an intern stay with us for a month, and we took him there, to Tres Pilas. He was a recent college graduate, a hobby photographer, and...*ahem*... a super good looking guy. (El Chupacabra can vouch for this. It’s just a fact.) Anyway, while we were there, I stayed down at the base, in the river below, laying on a big rock in the sun, and watching my youngest child play around in the biggest pool. The intern was crossing the river nearby, while carrying his very, very expensive camera, when his flip-flop slipped off and began floating rapidly down stream. He was helpless, and I was close, so, obviously, I jumped up and began picking my way down river on the very slimy rocks to retrieve the shoe. The thing is, it was really slippery, so I had to use both my hands and my feet, “Mowgli-style”, to move across the rocks. So there I was, rump in the air, chasing a flip-flop down river... in. a. bikini.


I’m sorry, but when you are trying not to slip and die, things like “sucking in”, and hiding cottage cheese thighs, they just fly right out the door.


In the end, I was successful...and mortified. I handed the intern’s wet shoe back to him and said, quite directly, “Now. Let’s never speak of this.” As far as I know, he’s kept his part of the bargain. (Of course, he probably pushed that image deep down, into the recesses of his mind in order to forget. But whatever.)


Sometimes, writing the Very Worst Missionary feels a lot like that. It makes me feel vulnerable, exposed. And, to be totally honest, I’m okay with that. It’s not for everybody. Bikini’s aren’t for everybody. And that’s okay.


When I went downriver after my friends shoe, it wasn’t my intent to offend him with the view *shudder*. In the same way, it’s never been my intent to offend anyone by exposing my heart. I write what I write because I feel there is a need. I’m truly sorry if it has offended some, if it has offended you.


Over the last couple of days, my inbox has been filled with responses to my last post. Mostly very encouraging, very supportive, very enthusiastic, two-thumbs-up kinds of notes from readers, and a few very kind, very secure, very oppositional letters. Naturally, the "pros" filled me with joy and the "cons" gave me a bit of dread, but, to everyone that took the time to share their thoughts on this somewhat sticky subject, I want to say THANK YOU!!


Many thanks to each and every one of you that have cheered me on! You’ve totally got my back! There really are no words to express what it feels like to have a group rallying behind you, urging you forward, seeing you for who you are and liking you anyway. That’s pretty cool. You guys are awesome.


But even more, a thousand times more, I want to say thanks to those who took the time to disagree. It takes guts to be the descending voice, and I love that in a person. It takes heart to say to someone, "you're wrong and here’s why”. And whether or not I ultimately agree with you, I admire your conviction. Thank you. I know that you’re coming from a place of love and concern, and in that, you’ve got my back. So, sincerely, thank you.


And I want to make it especially clear, that it is my privilege to be working with the sending agency that I work with. It’s no accident that we have each other. Their job is to look out for me; spiritually, physically and financially. I know, without a doubt, that the call I got the other day was coming out of love and protection. That’s their job. They’ve got my back. And for that, I want to say thank you, I love you, too.


Now. Let’s never speak of this again.


Just kidding. We can totally talk about this. I love this conversation. It needs to be had. So chime in if you’re still feelin’ it. You are welcome here.


Also, I haven’t forgotten about last weeks totally anti-climactic-cliff hangar. I promise, I’ll get to it. And again...thanks...

12 comments:

  1. for the record, I love your posts, and I have never been offended.

    I have laughed out loud on numerous occasions, but have never been offended.

    Keep sharing your heart Jamie.

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  2. You're unorthodox; I like that. Plus, I like your sarcastic style.

    We need more honesty in the body. We're all a mess---we just don't all tell it ;)

    Chin up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As Carrie said, you are unorthodox and have a sarcastic way about you. This is who you are. Make no apologies!! Offending someone is the farthest thing from your mind. You are just being who you are. You always bring your thoughts back to a message from God, from which we all benefit. I have laughed 'til I cried, disagreed sometimes but most importantly, I love you unconditionally. Keep being YOU!

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  4. I agree with Carrie. I like your sarcastic style, and the humor. Life is supposed to be funny. God likes it that way I am sure. He made the platypus, didn't He? :")

    Dan O

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  5. I'm sorry...but the "Mowgli" visual has me laughing my rear-end off (in a totally supportive, appropriate, Christian way).

    I so look forward to your blog!

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  6. Those sinks sound awesome! Do you have any pictures? Maybe your intern got a great shot of...um... of the sinks haha just kidding. :-P

    I am so glad you have decided to keep blogging and like everyone has said, be yourself, its who God made you, and its who we love! Speaking of being yourself, I can't wait to hear the conclusion about your response to the guy who wanted your son to be someone he's not (not unlike telling our beloved vwm to be someone she is not).

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  7. Zac,

    Hahahahaha. *straight face* You're so funny.

    There are some pics of Tres Pilas (and NOT my butt) in one of my Facebook albums. They were taken when it was almost totally dry, so not very impressive. During the rainy season they are incredible.

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  8. This post made me follow your blog.

    Thank you for being real and not sugarcoating anything. I've been thinking and praying about going out to the missions field long term, and your honesty helps me remember God does not expect perfection but willingness.

    http://unsettlingpeace.blogspot.com/

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  9. Welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you will be richly blessed through your willingness to follow God! It's pretty amazing journey! :)

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  10. I'm a firm believer that people can agree to disagree and still be friends. I have a lot of friends who shy away from conflict, but I say, why does it have to end in conflict? Can't it be a discussion? If both people go into it with the right attitude, there shouldn't be a problem. Like Sue, I have sometimes disagreed with some (very few) things you've said, but I don't care. It doesn't make me like you any less ... in fact, the exact opposite! I enjoy when someone has a different opinion than me and finding out why we think differently. Sometimes it's made me change my opinion and sometimes it hasn't. But I'm challenged either way and I like that. I don't go out seeking an argument, but I know that some of my friends who are scared to share their opinion think that's what I do, and that makes me sad ... for them! One time when a friend was sharing a family situation with us, the solution seemed simple to me ... talk to him about it. She just looked at me and said, "Not everyone thinks like you, Fiona." Shouldn't we CELEBRATE that instead of judging people who think differently? I don't know. That's just a thought. Not trying to create an argument or anything. ;)

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