This (Friday) morning I had written in my head what I wanted to say for this post. It is only 6pm and enough has changed, and I wouldn't be surprised if more does, that I have a more complete story to tell.
You see, it began with the saxophone. I am playing more, and so I was invited/put the idea out there to play this Easter Sunday as we will be in a larger setting and the instrument will not be so loud. The band practiced together in the house for the first time this morning, while I was outside figuring out the notes to every song (the only problem with playing this instrument--being tuned to E♭). So there I was, waiting for the rest of the band, already nervous for how this would go. It's Friday. We are playing on Sunday...
Then Mariela is there and I comment on how I missed her on Wednesday. I remember the conversation with Sol on the walk back from the girls' institute about how Mariela can't just not come, she needs to let me know ahead of time. "Tendrias que retarla," she tells me. "You ought to rebuke her... challenge.. reprimand her.."
This word is hard for me, but I know it is true. I stop to think about the types of challenges that work best for me. The ones that do not arouse my spirit of rebellion, if you know what I mean.
Mariela tells me she doesn't plan on coming anymore for Wednesdays. Just Fridays. Which leaves me alone for two out of three days of visiting. I already feel defeated. "Por?" I ask her.
She doesn't have a reason; one can see her own recognition of lame excuses. But I don't say anything to her because it's early and I'm more agitated about the practice that's about to happen. Even though I know God is good. Even though I know the sax will work out in time.
We have a team meeting where hardly anybody comes because it's Good Friday; I assume that everyone assumes we won't meet because it's a holiday. I sneak out a little bit early to prepare the bag for things to do while we are with the girls this afternoon. In the midst of this, the woman in charge of giving the lesson for Escuelita Saturday morning comes in. She tells me she was sick this week and didn't have a chance to prepare the lesson. "Can you do it?"
I almost want to say yes just because I'm exhausted, but I say no. "What about earlier this week? There was not a single chance to prepare something??" I remind her that it's only 10 to 15 minutes of lesson time. I remind her that figuring out what to talk about couldn't be easier right now--it's HOLY WEEK!!!
Mariela comes, but without her sister, so I call Flor to join us. Mariela puts her headphones in for the entire walk over. In the institute, all the girls make comments wondering where they have been. "Why are they so inconsistent?" I hope it sinks it, but it also hurts me to hear it.
On the way back, it feels like Mariela is a different person. I didn't get a chance to see what she was doing, as I stayed in the kitchen helping to make pancakes, US style (which were a hit, by the way), so I have no idea if she was doing okay or not. I thought that maybe that could be a part of the issue, that I give too much freedom in how things are run in the institute. Yes, I could be better at this...
But as I said, she is a different person. She is smiling, and she has put her phone away. She is talking with Flor about how she enjoyed today with the kids. (Sigh). Flor parts for her house, leaving Mariela and me a chance to say what I had been praying about all along. And it couldn't have come at a better moment--at the peak of her excitement for doing what she knows she wants to do long term.
"So if working with kids with these needs is something you enjoy so much, why give up coming on Wednesdays?"
She smirks, a look to say "I knew this was coming."
"It's just when I'm in the house," she tells me. "I don't want to leave. I'm lazy."
"And I understand that. If only we could remember how we always leave with a sense of accomplishment, like we're doing what we were made for, to help us get out of our chairs," I say.
She agrees, and being the dramatic one that I am, I added one more question. "Just answer me this, Mariela. This decision: is it for your sake, or was it God's idea?"
She laughs. "All right, all right. I'll come. I don't know what I was thinking before."
A few minutes later, I get a call from the woman helping with Escuelita. "I've got something prepared," she tells me.
What could have happened had I not said anything? Had I told both of them, "Ok, I'll figure something out"? Sometimes it's a test of leadership; sometimes it's a test of realizing as the body of Christ how much we need each other. How much we really should be depending on each other.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1
Important implications involved in these verses: that we must be walking in the Spirit. That we must be careful ourselves. But over all, that we must say something, even when it is difficult. Take heart, God is with you!