I Would if I Could, But I Can’t so I Won’t

Loss.  It is an un unusual, yet mostly terrifying event.  The first thing that comes to mind when I imagine loss is the fear that comes from the absence of the missing element.  The reason I say unusual is this.  Loss has the uncanny ability to propagate feelings of absence and yet, presence of the missing.

Today’s subject is the losing end of coming to Mozambique.  Most days I relish the challenge of coming here, and in fact I have begun to make a sparse group of friends I look forward to getting to know more.  In my humble opinion, friendships are the best part of a new place.  Mine are few and far between but they make living in a foreign place much lovelier.

The challenges are many: negative attitudes, language barriers, cultural boundaries, leering & twisted grins, and miscommunication.  These challenges do not often paralyze my sense of adventure in and of themselves.  What they do strike in me is a sense of loss.


When I first arrived, I had little.  I’ve never been one of fear. I have a spirit of hope in me and this is never forgotten when I take on the new because hope is un-ending joy.  As a Christian, the spirit of hope is an important element of my life and I needed it a lot when I came to Nacala.  So I was not afraid.

I was however, not without a nervous, creeping sense of my weirdness in a place of abject poverty, Portuguese and Makhuwa lenses of culture, and an unstable political climate.

There is confidence and then there is arrogance...
There is confidence and then there is arrogance…

So instead of spreading my ‘wings,’ I walked around as if they were clipped without knowing my own freedom and that has cost me time.  While some may think that being the eagle, and not the kitten would be ideal.  Look at this picture again.  The cat is clever, but the bird is powerful.  I’d rather be clever and make mistakes – only to pick myself up and be smarter.  Maybe even wise someday.  Hopefully confidence does not mean arrogance as in here.  In the meantime, clipped wings or sly felines equal some major advantages.

  1. Never mistaken my understanding of people for ‘knowing’ everything. I’m still learning.
  2. I appreciate a good cup of coffee.  Did I mention this yet?  I REALLY appreciate a delightful cup of coffee – and I especially miss Parisian cafes, so when I travel in an airport I get very excited just to see a cappuccino in a clinical-style café. Giddy.
  3. Never take the beauty of Africa for granted.
  4. I listen more.
  5. I stay quiet more.
  6. I confide in my best friend more than ever.

My loss of confidence has in fact, not been a loss at all.  It means I am ‘growing up’ in an adult sense.  I like it.

For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline. – 2 Timothy

3 thoughts on “I Would if I Could, But I Can’t so I Won’t”

  1. As someone who’s moved around a lot in my life, though never to such an unstable place, I can relate. Very good points you make there a the end. I’m still struggling with 4 and 5, but I’m right there with you on 1 and 2. Write on!

  2. I can relate to the sense of loss. I experienced it during my first year in the States nearly seven years ago. Sometimes, we can’t really be found until we are lost (as the song Amazing Grace said “I once was lost, but now I am found”).
    My sense of loss led me to become a Christian few months later. Since then, whenever I’m down I remind myself of Matthew 11:28-30

  3. Instability does really allow a person to grow. In my case, the instability made me take a few steps back and observe what people say, what they do and how the sphere of influence in Mozambique affects all of us. I couldn’t just ‘react,’ I needed to try to understand… I think moving around is a very personal journey, and as you say, we can struggle with the thought of listening and so on (4&5) because we are used to being comfortable. It is the loss of the confidence though that lets us hold on to what’s truly valuable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s