Monday, July 17, 2017

We went to church --and the human connection.

We got to church yesterday. It was hard waking up while it was still dark outside. I can't get used to the late sunrises here. We must have been up a little late the night before too --I had a few times during church where I got drowsy. Oh well, Elder Uchdorf says church sleep is the healthiest sleep right? And I didn't actually sleep --just...rested my eyes a few times. 
 Coming down the stairs to leave for church, we found a little friend who must have jumped through the gate.
 Church was nice, we had some good talks, and the Sunday school lesson was good too. 
 Last week I met this young mother that seemed really sharp. Really cool. Like if she lived in my neighborhood, she and I would be great friends. She taught the Relief Society lesson (women's meeting lesson) and I learned a lot. It was neat to see her again yesterday. It was neat to see a lot of the people, and start to suss out personalities. My historically anti-social husband really has started to come out of his shell the last couple of years, and I noticed a lot of that yesterday. He is usually the last one talking to people wherever we go down here. 
 We had kind of a hard day today with a lot of time to think --I will write more about it tomorrow. I started to wonder why I keep getting down, and what I can do about it. I know it is connected to seeing the poverty around me and I wondered if the solution is to just isolate yourself from that sort of thing when you travel --pick a nice sanitized resort, or only do humanitarian type travel --which with my history of poor planning hasn't been working out for us. Then as I looked through windows into peoples' lives I remembered something. 
 I remembered just hanging out with people on my mission. We would go into a member's home that was nothing more than a cinder block shell with a sink and toilet plumbed into corners, and a naked bulb hanging from the ceiling. But, I remember really connecting with these people. I remember Monica Chopitea inviting us into her home for breakfast every morning, and exercising with us, and her fiery temper that secretly made me like her more. I remember another young wife, and how she and her new husband seemed so in love, and how she made me want that for myself. I remember laughing with people, and crying with people and none of those things having much to do with what the people had or what I had, or how pretty everything was around us. The people made their happiness, and they made mine too. 
I think I need to get more out of my shell like Jeff, and try to build some relationships. In this sense, church is a gift. Here are a group of people that are already open to connecting with us. That are primed to love us a little. I already feel like I have one potential friend. 

I don't know how brave I am going to be, but here's hoping for at least one experience, that true connection with some of the people here. 

I set this trip up as more of a life experience, not a fun all the time excursion. We are cooking in our home most of the time, Jeff is working, we are trying to have an experience LIVING here with some fun stuff thrown in. But I have been feeling conflicted, and wondered if it was because I was actually a coward that belonged in a walled off resort --that I couldn't handle the reality of what this place is really like.  I think I found the missing piece. It is connecting to other lives here that I am missing. 
Not that only cowards go to resorts!! I am saying that part of me wanted to run away to one like a coward. Also, we are not ascetics -- I picked this area for the snorkeling, and we hope to do some really great excursions. I just wanted to the longer time here to be an experience of a culture, of living in another country. This country isn't perfect, and it is easy to get hung up on the flaws without some good personal experiences happening along with your material experiences. Anyway, that memory of the mission gave me some ideas to try.

3 comments:

Sir B said...

I think you are right on there. You are moving beyond the tourist/seller dichotomy and into a more rich experience. For me, I don't like going far away and staying in a resort. I can do that at home as they are all the same. Being a part of something means accepting all of its warts as they accept your warts (we have them too). Initially, you see the poverty and perhaps they see your excesses. Moving past that superficial relationship though is where true living occurs. These people have lives beyond what is easily visible. If you want that connection, it will take moving past the superficial. (This sounded good as I typed it, but it is late so hopefully it makes some sense). I don't comment much but very much appreciate your blog and your perspectives on life.

Amara said...

Thank you Brett for your kind comment. I realize --yeah we are far from perfect too. That is part of the insecurity, and what keeps me from reaching out sometimes. But then that's what keeps me from my best experiences! Once again, thank you for your words.

belann said...

Sounds like you are moving past the initial vacation part to a thoughtful, memorable experience.