December 8, 2008
A few snapshots of the journey. I have been kind of deliberately closed lately because of a decision I must make. My path in Nicaragua is splitting and I must choose which road to take. I will have the answers this week I am hoping and will then be able to explain more fully where I am at. In the meantime, here’s some snapshots of what I’ve been up to.
Yep, I went home. For 5ish days for my best friend’s wedding. It was just unreal. The lack of sleep and overwhelmingness that is the US and seeing people who know you deeply kept me fairly numb. I watched my best friend’s eyes flash in the realization of the huge decision she was making, met my nephew face to face and reconnected with my niece, ate tons of food that I love but found it was not as satisfying as I had always imagined, and just hugged and hugged the people I love. I felt hollowed out yet filled up all at the same time. It was this bizarre experience, like I had never left and yet fully aware that my life was going on in another country. I believe I have started a journey in which I will be a citizen of two worlds, two places. Part of that makes me uncomfortable and I want to pretend that it isn’t happening. But when I realized on my flight back to Managua that I kept referring to it as home, I knew that I had really created a place here. This is the first home I have made for myself without roommates or family members, and all on a foreign soil. It’s just kind of odd. I look forward to having people come visit me so they can see this life I live here. I remember thinking about Nicaragua before I came and I could not imagine what the day in day out looked like – I had nowhere to connect their experience. But I am finding it is not that much different than my life back home, and I know you will all feel welcome here.
Summer has arrived, which you know has me rejoicing. But this summer comes in with a transition time in El Crucero. It’s still chilly here because of the immense wind that kicks up all the time, but at least it is sunny and dry. However, there is a new plague to study: chinches. These little squarish bugs that buzz loudly, smell awful and burn your skin if they pee on you. Which is not an unlikely occurrence. Because of where my house is situated, the chinches congregate on the walls and roof of my house. And it is disgusting and slightly terrifying. It’s not too bad until they get in your house or you want to wash your clothes outside in the lavadera. I’m hoping this fierce wind will blow them all away. In the meantime, I’ve gotten really handy with my heart-shaped flyswatter.
About a year ago, I wrote a post about roots, talking about this yearning to put down roots and grow into the community around me, but feeling the restraint and inability to do so. I knew I was coming to a foreign place, and knew I could not sink too deep into the things I was involved with in KC. Yesterday, as I watched the faces of my Nicaraguan brothers and sister, laughing and talking, shifting as the cold wind sliced through our outside party, my heart swelled with thanksgiving. I am putting down roots. I am learning this people, and they are slowly becoming my people. Though we are very different in many ways, there is this commonality found in Christ that just blows my mind. I have been embraced, accepted, made a part of. And I find this rich freedom to grow all that I can, to embrace all that I am receiving and to dig down deep as I unfurl. I’m not talking about literally putting down roots, like I am going to live here forever, but that blessed feeling of giving of yourself, to let yourself become part of the community you find yourself in. It is amazing to be a part of these people’s lives.
I just finished the most beautiful book. It is called the Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and it is this amazing study of how a human’s desire to protect through concealing leads to more harm they could have ever imagined. It was a tragic story but one that was rich in imagery and the poignancy of raw emotions, emotions we tend to gloss over or renamed. What could have been so trite or flat became this deep ocean of people interacting, and watching the ripples of each action shaping the story. Not just a good read, but something to consider. How often have I exchanged the truth for a lie in the name of comfort or political correctness or simple embarrassment? I forget that my actions have consequences and each should be weighed carefully, considering the people it will impact and the outcome. Definitely a heavy book, but one that I found to be refreshing.
JOY OF GIVING
Curving masks glittered in the fading sunlight above missing teeth and goosebumped flesh. Laughter rang out among the whistling wind as the children waited somewhat patiently in their plastic seats. We were having a birthday party with some 70+ people. Our church works with a group of kids down at km 32, where a large number of families live in extreme poverty. The goal is simple – to show love and lend a hand to people who are hungry. Yesterday was a particularly special time because the boss of one of our church members had decided to celebrate her son’s 8th birthday with our group of children, knowing they would not be receiving gifts for Christmas or their birthdays. There were two huge piñatas and massive amounts of food, soda, candy and toys. The hunger in these kids’ eyes was heartbreaking as they clustered impatiently in their lines to receive. But the thing I saw shining out over the heaviness of poverty was the sheer joy our youth and this woman’s family had in giving. I sat and watched the birthday boy Cid as he stood before