When I first made the decision to come here, I had no expectations....I was only following a soft knock on the door. I would love to say I came to selflessly serve but I wanted an adventure. I wanted to live. To do something that would mean something that I would hope I would come to understand. I told myself that I was coming for me, so that I would not make myself a savior. But then I got here. And I never have felt pity for the people I work with, my students or the girls despite trying circumstances. That mentality I first came with holds true but it has changed. I think as my time is winding down, I'm beginning to see the fruits of my time here, or am just able to smell their sweetness. The reality of what I had signed up to do started to hit me as I saw that this was going to actually take sacrifice on my part. In the midst of that hardship, I had to ask the question "Why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this hell? Is this adventure worth it?"
And the truth is, by seeking out this position, unknowingly it came bridled with responsibility--my naivety never ceases to amaze me. I had to take ownership of my time here. My work did mean something, leaving the comfort of my room and heading into the rough and tumble world of the home and spending time with these other people, human beings, investing in these vessels, was beginning to mean something. And something that is worth sacrificing for, requires duty and responsibility. I have found that what started out as a quest for adventure, turned into something much more heavy, more substantial....and it wasn't just about me anymore. And with this burden comes a mess, a whole world of trouble for someone like me who, I don't think, has been used to real responsibility. My words, my actions have consequences. And then comes the rain of self doubt and punishment. And I have come to realize something my personality that maybe has been apparent to you, the people close to me in my life, but I have never realized. I punish myself beyond any one person in my life. I berate and drag myself through the dirt when I mess up. I go over my actions again and again, trying to figure out what I could've done better. Been more sincere, more commanding, more gentle, more loving, more forceful.
Why didn't you stand up enough for yourself?
Why can't you just let it go?
Why didn't you say no?
Why didn't you say yes?
Why were you sarcastic when you should've been loving?
And on and on it goes. And I'm talking about how I've conducted myself in the classroom, to my interactions with the girls, to my life with my housemates, on who, rests my universe.
Why does the truth seem to come so easily to others while I have this three hour internal monologue trying to figure out the right thing to do or say? My struggle is this. On a good day I could lie to you and tell you who I am....but the truth is I know nothing and have no idea who that person who is staring back at me in the mirror.
I can tell you I like to read. I feel the strongest when I'm directing. I love fresh pineapples and soft avocados. I like to wear my nails really short and I will never say no a Jane Austin movie. I am a morning person and I cry when I see anyone who looks like my grandpa. Those are things I know about myself. But when you throw other people and responsibility into the mix, I get lost. I get scared. Influencing others, my actions mean something to someone else. But I don't like weak people and when I am weak, I don't like myself. And have never so often felt so powerless in my life as here in Honduras.
I would love to say that I am fearless. That I do not know the face of fear. That I can perform a 120 page script, of which I am in every scene, completely free and in control. That I can walk into a classroom of 22 fourth graders confident in my knowledge. That I can show up for a game of soccer with 30 girls who have been left by their families ready and willing to play with my heart open.
Sometimes my brain is so abuzz that I cannot hear other people talking to me. And when this happens I picture myself in Crate and Barrel with a baseball bat smashing the place to kingdom come. And dear friend, this is my plight. Trying to turn off the noise. And get myself out of my head and turn it into action. A very wise mentor of mine (yes, she's read a lot of books, I've heard) said during our rehearsals "A physical action evokes an emotional response." So I have been putting that into play. When I am stuck, I get my tush out of bed and go to the girls. And maybe that is unfair of me, to use them as my therapy, but God is in that place, and I cannot stay in the confines of my mind when I am with them. And this has led me to a bit of a revelation. Now I could explain it to you myself but I found this quote that puts it just right.......
"Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you . . . remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business . . . even your own life is not your business. It also is God’s business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought . . . unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy . . . What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort . . . than being able from time to time to stop that chatter . . . "
— Frederick Buechner (Telling Secrets)
Ironically enough, "Take it easy" is on a red Tweety sweatshirt of one of my roommates. And here, I have found solace. Just go out and do and the rest will sort itself out. I have given myself permission to chant that to myself when I get caught in my head and make my weary, broken body get up and go out. Sometimes I feel like I'm a thousand years old, a bystander looking into the lives of those around me. And other times a child, who doesn't think of the consequences of my actions and I just do. Right now, I'm I trying to find that person in between. I strive be the bearer of wisdom, with a wide girth of love and patience and goodness rooted in absolute certainty. Yeah...that would be great. I'm just realizing how ironic the title of my blog is....En el desconocido....into the unknown. That IS where I am, at least I'm not alone.
And now, I am going to unclench the fists of my spirit and take it easy and leave it to God.