I learned something important today! I want to share what happened and see what you think.
As many of you know, I’ve been working with people in Natal, and an outstanding lawyer in Brasilia, Brazil, for about four years to acquire my Brazilian citizenship. (Someone tonight asked me “why do I want it?” You can read the response to that question by clicking on the link at the end of this post.)
Back to the lesson I learned? Around the time of Joe’s death in February, I receive a note from the lawyer saying my citizenship Is being published in a journal from the Brazilian government and she included a picture of some names (my name was there!) I remember how happy I was that the process was going ahead…in fact, I said something about it on Facebook.
The pressures and confusion of grief and the need to move immediately (almost all income stopped at the time of Joe’s death,) swallow my brain and thinking process. I am like a stranger going through motions, aware of what is around me, but numb. (I’m getting better, but I never know for sure when the tears will come.)
I want to make plans to go to another daughter’s home in Georgia to spend some time there and continue working on details so I can proceed on to Brazil. I begin to be concerned. Will there be a time limit for me to get to Natal to finish the citizenship process? How much time to I have Do I need to be in Brazil by a certain date? A good friend in Natal tells me “ no, the papers are waiting for you.” But I continue to worry. Finally, I remember another friend who had worked with immigration in Natal for many years. I send an email, asking him for details.
The following day I receive an email that has me jumping with joy. He lists what has happened (with document references), my time limit (February of 2018) with an explanation, and a copy of an official document stating what I need to do when I get to Natal, dated May 19th
As I read the email with all the details, for the first time I totally realize that the Brazilian government has given me the citizenship statues: I AM BRAZILIAN AND AMERICAN!
So, what is the lesson I learned?
The first notification, I did not understand what it meant for my name to be published in that official government paper. Because I did not ask for clarification, I misunderstood what was happening. So I lived with uncertainty for another three months until I finally asked.
Is that understandable? Yes. Is that foolish? Yes. I was given my answer in February but I unconsciously chose doubt rather than clarity.
My question: How many times do we do this in our lives? How often does it happen when we are studying God’s Word? Too often we take words we think we understand, such as “salvation”, repentance”, “Christ died for our sins”, God created the universe”, ‘the Kingdom of God”; the list of words continues. We don’t understand the depth of the meaning and, instead of security in our relationship with God, we don’t have certainty that we are citizens in His Kingdom.
The words are on the paper, written out so we can read and understand.
Was I negligent in my way of looking at the info sent to me? The answer is YES.
Was I foolish? Yes.
if we don’t have the understanding, then let us ask.
I need to apologize to my lawyer for not asking for clarification… Fortunately, I can.
But I lived with doubt – and it wasn’t her lack of communication. It was my responsibility to make sure I understood.
Maybe we all need to ask for more clarification, as we look at the words that are on the paper?
What do you think?