I told you before I wasn't sure how I got on this trip to Honduras. It is a country I never had any strong feelings for, but here I am, falling for this small Central American country with it's people and it's lovely culture.
I still am under-qualified and undereducated for being on this development team. Yet, here I sit in a small and charming hotel called "The house of Beauty", or you know Casa Bella.
So for whatever this is worth, here are the things stomping around in my head these days:
1. The more I travel and experience new cultures and places and demographics, the more I am reminded how similar we as humans are. We are the same through and through, and yet somehow, so often, all we can see are the things that make us different. The things that separate us. The things we do not understand. We are not that different, you and I.
2. It is totally possible to not speak the same language and yet find yourself having heartfelt conversations and making true friends. That you could laugh till you cry and share real hurt with one another over the same dinner is of the most beautiful magic. People are warm and open and funny and silly and endearing and warm. I am falling in love with mankind all over again.
3. It is an interesting dynamic to visit a country that overall has more poverty than the US, yet my neighborhood is more dangerous and violent than the sites we visit. For all the religious baggage I carry about serving others and going to the ends of the earth, this has been the strangest paradox to experience here.
4. I like this version of me. I am more laid back, I am easy going, and I love existing without a plan. All I need to focus on is the here and now. What does this moment hold for me and what do I bring to it? This probably has the most to do with the fact that I don't have to cook, I get to eat out a bunch, and someone else makes my bed and cleans my toilette.
5. I really really really like coffee. Seriously, I didn't think I loved it as much till I came here and I started drinking it black. I think I am doing it wrong in America.
6. I will never grow tired of meeting people who are doing life changing work. That all over the world there are folks that are fighting for the good of humanity. That God is an inspiration to so many that they will go to great lengths to carry out his mission of love. There is both evil and love in this world. It is up to us to choose which we want to see and what path we want to take.
7. I spend too much time worrying about silly and unimportant things. There are big things to throw my heart at. There are people who need me to care less about the pounds I've gained and invest my heart into creating space where people are loved and cherished and God is encountered.
8. In the last year I have taken a more active role in our community. Being here in Honduras as felt more complete than any other international work I have ever done because of it. I believe in the balance of loving people close and far. That our resources would not neglect one to serve the other. Both missions have found a greater purpose because the other exists. My community garden project is reflected in the lives and purpose of those serving here locally while I serve internationally. My time here will directly effect the course of what I do in my neighborhood. Loving people close and far finally feels right.
9. I believe that art is not a luxury but a necessity. I have come to understand that we as people need a way to express what life dishes out. Having the ability to draw, or sculpt, or play music, or write allows you to feel what we are afraid to feel. That we can face those things and take away their power over us. I LOVE that I get to be apart of a program that wants to give these skills to children who are experiencing great pain and poverty and tragedy. That somehow, through learning an artful skill, they can find freedom and peace from their pain and connect them in a unique way to their creator. This feels like a critical skill to help these children become adults that have more compassion than anger, more peace than fight, and more love than hate. We need the next generation to see more beauty, and somehow I get to be apart of that.
10. I came to this trip with absolutely no expectations or assumptions or agenda's. I came as much of a blank slate as possible. This has proven to be a new experience for me. As we live out our days here and big empty slate gets filled in with people and experiences and conversations, I find I love this approach to life. I desire to get my agenda out of the way more often and just take in what life gives me. I can't control it anyway, so I should stop trying so hard.
11. A woman I met one day ago. 24 brief hours is all we have had together. She looked at me and said, "God is in you. I see it. He wanted you here for a purpose. You bring his heart with you." And then i am sure she saw fear in my eyes as they watered at the heavy measure of which she just gave me. I have never in my life felt like that girl. The girl that looks back at me in the mirror looks broken and tired from the struggles she battles. She looks a little hopeful and a little lost. She looks like most days she is just faking it hoping no one will notice. She wishes she was stronger and trusted easier. That girl just hopes she can get to the end of her life not completely beat up with her clothes torn.
Or maybe she does.
All I know is that others will always see us differently than we see ourselves. Good or bad. Sweet or sour. Dark or light. Either way, no matter how we feel or who we think we are, if someone says, do you want to go to Honduras?
Just say yes.