18 Inches

“The longest journey we’ll ever travel is the 18 inches between the head and the heart.”

It’s a bit of wisdom I received from Fr. Felix, one of the CFRs who lives across the street from us, the last time I went to Confession.  Its truth has stuck with me.  How easy it is to know something intellectually—and how difficult it is to believe it in our hearts, and then act on it.

For myself, I think Honduras has already been an important step forward on that journey.  I’m finally starting to take to heart things that I’ve always known (ex:  don’t squander time).

One of the lessons that’s been hitting home this week is how every person is carrying a different cross… It’s something so obvious, but for various reasons, is so easy to forget.  Sometimes we’re too caught up in our own world to pause to consider the perspectives of those around us.  Other times we can be really talented at hiding even incredibly deep sorrows or we make ourselves too busy to spend too much time thinking about them.  We distract ourselves with work or entertainment.  Too, we frequently can have a smile that’s sincere even in the midst of the suffering.   In fact, that’s one thing that always impresses me about the Honduran people.  Sometimes they’re so joyful… I question my being here.  But especially my Spanish grows little by little, so too grows my understanding of their lives and some of the deep wounds that the people here are suffering.

The question then becomes, how do I act towards my neighbor with this knowledge?  Hopefully with more patience, more love, a heart more ready to forgive and forget.   But again, it’s one thing to say it and another to live it.

Thus my thoughts have also turned to how much easier it is to go out to the streets and love than it is to love within our own households.  It’s sooo easy to go to Casa Misericordia and love the girls there for an afternoon…but the people I’m with 24/7?  My family?  My roommates?  Already, Honduras has been a great teacher for that as well.

I forget if I’ve mentioned it before, but within our house the number of people can range from about eight to twenty-two at any given time.  That’s a lot of different personalities and habits, and nevermind the differences between the Honduran and American cultures!   It’s easy when someone does something that grates on your nerves to get upset or to want to complain about it to somebody else.

For example, this morning when I was locked out of the bathroom (they’re suite style).   Not the best way to start the day.  My initial reaction was one of extreme irritation, but then I paused to think about the situation.  I knew it was not an act of malice (it’s actually a pretty funny imagine thinking of my suitemates plotting ways to make life difficult for me and deciding on the bathroom door), but pure human error.   I’m also quite positive there have been multiple times when I’ve left the other bathroom door locked.  And how did I really want to start my day?  Definitely not in a bad mood.  So I found another bathroom and all was well.

Ha, okay, I realize it’s not the most profound of examples, but one of the little ways down here that I’m learning how to love, realizing that so much of it comes down to what my mom’s always told me… give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Always.  One, we don’t know what crosses they’re carrying.  Two, it makes life significantly easier and happier.

And speaking of happy things!  I am home in exactly one month!!!  How crazy is that??  I feel like I got here yesterday!

Also, last time I forgot the link to the scholarship program.  Here it is: http://www.missionersofchrist.org/sponsorship.html  CLICK IT!


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