In the preparation packets (which really shouldn’t be called packets but books– seriously, they’re huge and bound) that we read before we come down here, there’s obviously a lot of information. All of its valuable, but all this time later, there’s still one line that strikes me:
“The first year is for you. The second year is for Honduras.”
I’m now almost three months into my second year and I think I’m finally beginning to understand what that line meant. It’s interesting… as often as I had come down to Honduras before I began my extended term, everything was still so new last July. The people, the language, the household routine, prayer life, ministries, everything. As I noted in my last blogpost, it wound up being a time in which I learned a lot about myself, something I honestly wasn’t expecting.
This second year, I’m sure there will be more new things. Actually, we’ve already had two new things: Bob and Diane. A quick digression so you know what’s happening down here– after 13 years in Honduras, our local servant leader Carol has gone to Rome! She’s there for a well-deserved break, but also to take classes and to learn how to be a Spiritual Director. We all miss her loads, but likewise are really excited for her. Too, she’ll be back in May and as we all know well, time flies. Especially here. While Carol is gone, though, the (almost former) president of the Missioners of Christ has come down with his wife. They’ll actually be down here for three years. This has been a huge transition for the community, but the love Bob and Diane have for the community is obvious and as such, it’s all gone really well.
Anyways. The point is that while new things always come, I’m in a place where I more-or-less know what I’m doing. I have a place in the kitchen, in the choir, in our scholarship program, etc. Plus, I actually sort speak Spanish now, which is HUGE, and opens up a lot of doors.
Coming into this second year, the biggest difference for me has definitely been the relationships with the people. First, within our own community. Again, having the language now allows for both serious conversations and jokes around the dinner table. To be honest, in some ways the language has also made it harder. Now that we can all communicate, we have disagreements, and you can’t pretend they’re not there. We’ve all lived together for a year now, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had a rough patch with almost everyone in the house. That said, we’ve also made it through those rough patches and I know our friendships are stronger and more authentic for that. Likewise, there’s also a deeper sense of trust… how we’re all in this together. For example, the other night when we had to sing a few songs at a this procession/vigil thing. Haha, well, that’s what it was supposed to be. It wound up being an hour walk in the rain, followed by chaos as we were basically put in charge of the program… when we got back home at 1:00am… there was this giddy sense of exhaustion and relief that we had survived. A ridiculous experience, but one that build those bonds too. Besides the many adventures that we’ve shared this past year, there are always so many people are coming in and out of the house. It winds up becoming a reaffirmation of those who stay, that we really are a family. That familial sense allows for a deeper vulnerability. My roommate Vilma and I just had the most incredible conversation the other night about our struggles and fears… that conversation literally couldn’t have, nor would it have happened at this time last year.
Then likewise, not only with people in the house, but with the people we work with, those who make up a key part of our everyday lives. Sometimes this means sharing the sorrows of life. Tuesday, for example, I learned the oldest son of one of the women I see everyday was murdered two-and-a-half years ago. He would have turned 21 tomorrow, so if you could say a prayer for Kevin, his family, and the two men (boys really) who killed him… it would mean a lot.
But it’s not only shared sorrows– there’s a lot of joy too! I’ve mentioned Nancy before, right? Who oversees the tutoring at the girls orphanage? I’ve started giving her and her younger brother English classes and it’s been awesome. Last time, I went to her house and met her mom and saw her husband and baby. Then after the English lesson, they have me a dance lesson. So much fun.
And I could keep going… the kids in Becas, the girls at Casa Misericordia, the moms in the mothers’ group… it’s been really incredible. And just think! It’s only October! Still the beginning of year two. The most recent advice I was given about year two: Enjoy it! So I’m going to do my best to do just that.
— And that’s really the end of this blogpost. This is a related reflection but ultimately digression on why I’m deactivating facebook. —
Being away from home, living in community, being in an environment where I have literally met hundreds of new people this year, and don’t have regular access to the internet… it puts a lot of things in persepective. Like relationships. And how I maintain them.
Facebook was an invaluable tool in college. It allowed me to connect with new people, stay updated on any event you care to image, and promote causes important to me. It doesn’t serve that purpose anymore. Now it’s now a tool to stay updated superficially on the lives of friends and people that I’ve known. And sometimes I love it! Seeing the great things that someone from my freshmen English class is doing now or the pictures of the babies that all of my friends are now having… But the bad (wasting hours without really doing anything) outweighs the good. I’ve realized just how precious and valuable the friends I have are to me. I’d rather use the little internet time I have to stay authentically updated on what’s happening in their lives… exchanging meaningful emails and pictures.
So! If you want to stay updated on what’s happening in my life— follow me on this blog! Or email me! It’s still going to be tough to find the time, but hopefully there will be a little more of it without Facebook. Ha, and maybe now I’ll have to start posting pictures on this blog.
Disclaimer: It’s just an experiment. I have no grudge against facebook or think myself better for having deactivated it. We’ll see how long it lasts. haha, actually I deactivated it last week and then I had to reactive it because I needed pictures for a project that I was working on. Eh. Such is life.