Saudade. Say it. (sah-ooh-dah-jee)
Today as I sat in parent-teacher conferences, I imagined what it would be like if I could magically speak Portuguese. Because I know some Spanish, I can usually get the gist of what is being said, but my heart ached as I longed to tell the parents of my students how much I loved having them in class…..and how much I know I will miss them when I go back to the states.
Though my dream of magically learning Portuguese has not come true yet, elements of the language will stay with me, just like memories of my students will.
Saudade. This is a word I am determined to work into my vocabulary. It is working so far. Saudade does not really have an English equivalent. It means that you miss something so much you ache. Today, as I stood in the teachers room at lunch time, it hit me. I have saudades for the States. Last night, our fridge broke. Needless to say, it was a smelly situation when I opened that baby up this morning. As I lay on my bed in my apartment, trying to think of what to make for dinner, my mind started to wander. This week has not been an easy one. For some reason, I have been feeling saudades a lot more than usual. I have longed for the company of dear friends at home, for a familiar school system, for familiar faces and languages at Church on Sunday. The last few days have been days that make me feel saudades for America, because that is what I am used to. It is where I am from. In America, refrigerators work, familiar faces abound, I know the language, I know the customs. It is home.
Today, as I lay on my bed, I asked myself a question. Do I have saudades for heaven? When the week has been hard, when I do not have the energy and the strength to do what is required of me, when I am broken by the brokenness I see in my students, myself, and others around me, do I despair? Or, do I feel saudades for heaven and eagerly participate in the coming of God`s Kingdom now? When things are wonderful, do I glory in the moment only, or do I feel a twinge of saudades, knowing that Heaven will be even better?
This week, I have been praying that God will do his work through me in the lives of my students. I have been asking him to help me participate in his work here. To love the way he loves. To teach the way he would teach. His way. The way it should be.
As you feel saudades for your friends in other places, (India…Brasil…) feel free to send them packages, and allow your saudades to remind you to long for heaven.