Returning to the Past – 78th Part
There I was in Portugal, little by little, getting all my things organized.
I love to organize my things in a practical way that makes my life easier. Those who do the Work of God on the altar, like me, know that in general we don’t find things the same way we leave them in the places we have stayed for a long time. With each transfer you have to start fresh by adapting to a new country, new Pastor’s wives, and a new home. And all this, usually always takes us out of our comfortable zone.
On the first week, I started going to church. I would sit in a room that almost no one entered. The wives were busy with their responsibilities, they would rush down the hall without noticing I was there. I felt awkward, not knowing where to go or what to do. Do you know that feeling when you get to a place and everyone already knows each other? I think they felt awkward as well, fearing because I was the bishop’s wife and Bishop Macedo’s daughter.
The fact is, I knew it was my responsibility to “fit in” this new environment and be comfortable there. This is the life of someone who serves on the altar. You posses nothing but the clothes on your body. Your future is in the hands of God and you always have to start over and adapt to new realities. Our only desires are to serve God and our neighbor, that’s all.
One day, in that same room, the wife of an auxiliary Pastor from our headquarters came to introduce herself to me. She greeted me very attentively, even though we had not met before. It seemed like things were starting to flow.
So we had our first afternoon coffee in the church, with the wives who worked there, and finally, I would have the opportunity to meet them. But we were all very shy, and when I’m shy, I usually smile, because I don’t know how to act. But soon conversation began to emerge. Inside me, I could only think about, “Which of these wives could help me in the Women’s program?” Then, I asked if anyone there was shy.
They answered me at once, affirming their shyness. Each one in their own way told me about their shyness, and the different levels of it. My response to them scared even me. I said, “I hate shyness!”
The ambiance of harmony, sympathy suddenly disappeared. All of them became awkward, with the “cold” response that they received. My response was so natural and spontaneous. In my heart I was burning the desire to serve God, I wanted to find someone to do the Woman’s program with me, someone who would not hide behind a feeling, someone I could count on.
One of the wives, who was there and had said she was very shy, did not like my response. She was accustomed to having people accept her like that, she said she was shy as if that were a virtue, but no one really stopped to think about the imprisonment that shyness can cause. People respected this, just as I would of before having my flesh torn by the sacrifice I had made. Now I saw in myself a different reaction, hatred toward sin like I’ve never had before. I was now able to see little things that could grow in someone and be highly destructive, besides displeasing God.
My words shocked her so much that she immediately began to question herself. And I couldn’t even imagine what those words cause inside of her. After a while, after we got to know each other better, she told me how much these words had affected her. The way I responded on that table, obviously, was not the way I usually acted. My parents didn’t teach me to be like this. I even asked myself, “Viviane, why are you talking like this? You just got here and you’re talking like that, why?”
As the days went on, I realized that I, in fact, hated sin. I wanted to show that when we let ourselves be limited by anything, we are accepting sin and I wanted to unmask it so that the person would be free from it. Because of the sacrifice I had made, and as the wife responsible, I would speak the truth at any cost. The sacrifice I had done still burned in my chest. Just as I had to be bold with my mistakes by abolishing sin and deceit, I had to keep up with this same attitude at all times. So when I saw someone being a prisoner of their mistake, no matter who it was, I needed to be loyal to what I had learned and help that person find herself.