My feet are pounding pavement on this renewing Brazilian morning. There is something about this morning run that is different. Fatigue is setting in. My feet are throbbing. My body is parched. As I run, I suck on my own tongue for every last bit of moisture possible. The concentration of water droplets in the air saps every last bit of water that I possess. This is how it is to live in Brazil. Potable water is a premium. Clean water is a Godsend. This I learned very quickly. Droplets of sweat blanket my shoulders and back. The humidity serves as a natural exfoliant. The things that do not belong accumulate in the form of perspiration. At the same time the wind rushes forth and whirls around me and with it carries the old away. I imagine this is how the Holy Spirit works. Through running, walking, working, speaking, living, I am exhausted. This is my wilderness experience. As I stride through the less than ideal sidewalks of Recife the I can see a vibrant array of colors. The local flora invade my senses from all directions. They’re leaves are like blades piercing through the shell of my being. A thousand machete-like leaves cross my face and my true self bursts forth.
The experiences from the past few days rush to the forefront of my memory and I can vividly see the young impoverished children of a Boa Viagem public school joyfully playing on their playground which is simply a fenced in concrete slab.
The request of one of the teachers at this school resonates with me. She asked the parents for assistance in paying for water for their almost non-existent school.
As much as my feet throb from walking I understand that my feet do not throb as theirs do. Many of these children are send to school in sandals because they have no money for shoes. My throat is not as sore from theirs due to lack of water. My heart does not ache as their heart does from lack of hope; from knowing that their society that has largely forgotten about them.
Still running, the aroma of the streets is an enlivening combination of many things. The zesty-sweet scent of the brilliant flowers lining the sidewalks is enchanting. Nature has enchanted me. It has offered many gifts, and it has offered many hardships. Life is bittersweet is Recife. There is much life and there is much death. There are blessings, and there are sins. To survive I must strengthen my core. I feel myself adapting spiritually and physically. My body physically needs less and less water to sustain itself and more of the living water. My core has tightened physically to brace my spine for the impact of the unforgiving cement. My core has tightened spiritually from clinging to Christ. I am poised now, more than ever, to do his work. God, give me your work and give me your rest. Give me your life and death. Give me your love and your wrath. Wrap me in your arms. Bring me with you, wherever you would have me go. I love you, my God. You sustain me. You are my portion. You have my life. I am yours and yours only.
WATCH, and may your heart burn as mine.