I was sixteen years old, running in and out of the house with places to be, people to see and things to do. It was a Saturday, mid-afternoon if I recall correctly, and my stepfather was sitting watching television. He shouts towards me saying, “Come and watch this quickly with me!” I tell him I have no time. I was a busy teenager who couldn’t sit still, especially on a Saturday. He says it again, “Come watch this, you will never go have a chance to visit those places so, you might as well watch this.”
He was watching TV (we are talking Brazil 30 years ago, no internet, no easy access to home telephones and a TV consisting of 3 channels) in which a beautiful documentary was playing in one of the channels of some of Greece islands.
It is hard to translate the sentiment of some of the Brazilians of my generation. We grow up in a Brazil that used to and still does look up to Europe as their economic role models, source of culture and tourism. We looked up to Europe, not to the US-at least us from southern Brazil. I had dreams of traveling to Europe, studying abroad, working, and enjoying many different beaches and small villages. When my stepfather categorically declared I would never be able to go “there” meaning visiting other places – I paused – What are you saying? What did you just say?
I looked at my mom and said, “How dare he say I will never go to Europe!” I got so mad, so angry. I started to shout saying I will not be stuck here, but in the midst of it all I had to run – places to be people to see and things to do. Teenagers!
I was just 16 years old in a country still under a mild dictatorship if is there anything such as mild. I am proud to say I was part of the generation that fought for democracy and for a better Brazil that today many enjoy. I finished high school in a country full of uncertainties with hopelessness in the air for us the young generation. I wanted to travel the world, enjoy different cultures, and speak other languages. France was a big dream for me.
I started college and I had to work to pay some of my tuition while my mom struggled to help me. Of course I had anger in my heart. Anger at our financial situation, anger at what the country offered – at how little hope I felt (today I know better – the country you live in doesn’t matter, what does matters is your determination to change your situation).
One day I came to my grandma’s kitchen with a magazine full of many beaches and places in Europe, and I tell her, “Grandma will I ever go there?” She answered, “You will Luciane. Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do anything-I recommend you do go see the world. This family is crazy”.
We did have a crazy family and my grandma was basically telling me to fly away because the anger in my eyes was a good anger. It is the type of anger that can be transformed into positive actions. Later in your life it will be an anger of resentment for not doing what you heart is calling to do.
I arrange to leave Brazil not long after elections for a democratic president took place. I lived in Spain, Portugal and London. I did visit Greece, Italy and so many other countries.
Not all anger is bad. In fact even Jesus in all his kindness and love also demonstrate anger in few situations such as Matthew 21;12 “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
Not all anger is bad. Some anger can be very good. It is good to get angry at what people tell us and try to prove them wrong. It is good to get pissed off and transform that energy into something positive.
There is an old say in Brazil: “If advice was good we wouldn’t give it away but sell it”. Nevertheless, if there is any lesson I can pass on with this post is for us to check our anger. (We all have it). If is an anger that already transformed into bitterness, then pause, acknowledge it, repent and let it go. The past is gone and all we have is the present and the ability to transform our future. If it is an anger that is calling you to change, don’t hesitate. Hold tight to this anger and use it as the propeller for prayer asking a power bigger than you to help.
Take one step at a time to reverse the direction of your life believing that the impossible is very possible. You will never see the entire picture unfolded in your lap. I say it again. You will never see the entire picture unfolded in your lap.
I left Brazil with a simple primitive plan. I had a round trip ticket in case what I wanted didn’t work out. I knew of one or two youth hostels to stay in which it’s easy to meet lots of young people, specially youth hostel in Europe. I had enough money for two or tree weeks at the most. That’s it. The rest of the plan unfolded as I took the step of faith. I met two girls in the airplane that offered their uncle’s house in Portugal to stay for one week. Once in Portugal I got a job within one week in a cafe. A month later I moved to Spain and met an Argentinian boy that took me under his wing and taught me Spanish. With this I got a job as a waitress for 4 months in one of the most prestigious places. My story goes on and on eventually leading me to United States, the country that I love dearly and in which I have three amazing children.
It is ok to have anger sometimes. It is what we do with it that makes a difference.
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