Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learning to Love Again

A frequent reader here asked me the following question;
Findalis said...Each nation and sometimes regions of nations have their own customs. You never said which one you prefer better. I'd like to know.

I was reminded of the following post, which I wrote last year while here in Paraguay on a survey visit. I still think it best describes how I feel about the countries where I have spent most of my life.

I have been trying to comprehend my feelings of love. Emotions of love I have for more than one country. Perhaps you think that I can not love many places equally, or that in loving one, I love the other less. But that is not the case for me.

As a mother, I love each of my four children equally. But differently. Each occupies a place in my heart that no other can fill.

My first born daughter, Jackie, was born a very independent child. She was mature and handled everything easily. She was quickly to become my friend. My best friend. My love for her is shown in that way.

Along came son, Joshua. He was a serious minded child. Content to play alone, but in need of my presence for security. As he has gotten older, it seems our roles have changed. He now cares for me and brings me security. He does his own thing still, but likes to have loved ones nearby for comfort. I show him my love by being available.

Jewel! She quickly revealed a strength of character we had not yet seen in any child. Strong willed, independent, and very loyal. The life of any party! My role with her was often to be a boundary setter as she knew no limits and thought she could do anything. She usually could, but at times to the detriment of others or endangerment of herself. She is now a young lady of 18 and still is a strong minded individual but has learned to be considerate of others. I show my love by supporting her in her endeavors.

Then the baby, Jayde. She is the social butterfly. She thrives on attention. She does not like to be left to her own devices and prefers to be part of a group. To show her love, is to look her in the eye and communicate. A lot!!!

I love them all greatly, but differently, just as I love my different countries equally and yet completely.

My home land, the USA, is the land of my birth. The land of my heritage. It is where I feel safe and secure. A refuge. The land of my mother tongue, of my sheltered childhood. I could not love another place more!

Venezuela is my adopted country. A place I chose to love and a people who returned my love, mostly. Just as a young bride leaves the home of her parents to begin a new life with her husband, I chose to begin a new life in Venezuela. I gave Venezuela my unconditional love. Yes, I know her faults and difficulties, but I love her still. I could not love another place more!

Then the Ye'kwana tribe. I love them with a passion! My time with them was the culmination of a life long dream. Our lives were filled with excitement and adventure. Emotionally draining at times, but very fulfilling! I could not love another people more!

Now, I am opening my heart to Paraguay. Just as a young person first in love, tentatively, shyly even, I am reaching out to see if that love is returned or spurned. It is exciting and yet terrifying! It could break my heart! Or , bring great joy!

Yes, I have a great love for more than one place, more than one people. One will never replace the other and all will be part of what makes me feel whole and gives me purpose in this life and the one to come.

1 John4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
My children.
(Abby, Jackie, Jewel, Jayde, Naomy, and Josh.)


Betty said...

What a great post! I totally agree with what you wrote. I feel that way about my homeland Canada too.
It must be very hard to leave a place you have lived for so long and start all over again! I hope you find the love for Paraguay, as you do for your other "homes".

Baptist Girl said...

you are truly blessed Rita.


Gigi said...

Lovely post, lovely family!


This was a great post!! Such a tribute to your children and the lands that you love and want to love. The people where you have gone and are reaching out is very blest. I hope and pray that they see your heart and return your love enthusiastically. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. We are blest to know you as well. connie from Texas

Z said...

I was always surprised, and probably always will be, that I loved living in Paris so much..and Munich. I didn't imagine I'd want to stay once I'd set up an apartment for Mr Z for his business stint in France.... I thought we'd do some ridiculous commute...with Mr. Z flying back and forth, or me......I could NEVER live anywhere but America! (want a bet?)

I loved learning the language, laerning the people, learning the city and customs......I can only imagine how exciting it is for you to have learned SUCH extremely different cultures than your own!

What a marvelous post...thought provoking,inspiring; your family is very lucky. xxx

Tori said...

Wow, that was a sweet post. Beautiful children.

MightyMom said...

gloria estefan has frequently said in interviews that she loves two countries equally, that of her birth Cuba and USA....I suppose all can feel that's just foreign to those who've never lived elsewhere

firepig said...


Love grows and expands our minds and hearts.Only hatred contracts our consciousness.

I know you will love Paraguay precisely BECAUSE you love USA and Venezuela.

Had you not loved them, then I would doubt your capacity to love a new country.

I never want to stop missing what i love and became separated from....It is part of being truly alive.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful girls, and a stalwart son. You and your husband have been fortunate.

Gayle said...

Your post is proof that our hearts are always big enough to add more love to them. There's no limit to those we can love. That's such a wonderful thing and this post is a wonderful tribute to the truth of it. Thanks, Rita! :)

cube said...

You have a beautiful family.

Nina in Portugal said...

Beautifully written!

Pam said...

Beautiful to read and I'm in tears.