A smiling old man… a laughter of a young child… a polite beeping of a horn… the sounds of birds in the morning. These are some of the sights and sounds of Nicaragua for me.
It has been less than twenty-four hours since I have arrived back to my home here, in Denver, from Managua, Nicaragua. I have been asked a number of times about how my trip went and so far I am not really comfortable in knowing how to respond. There are so many different adjectives that I could possibly use to describe my experience; so, I am always searching for the right ones to use with the person who has inquired about my time there.
As I was driving home this morning from an appointment, I was presented with an inner question.
That question is this:
How will I live life going forward?
Will I slowly drift backwards into the life that I once lived?
Will I still seek to be challenged as I was this past week?
How do I value the spending of a dollar when there is a country only a few hours away, by flight, where people exist on less than five dollars a day?
I am not seeing this inner journey of self-reflection as a judgment against or for one society over another. I am not writing this to criticize a system while comparing it to another. However, what I am doing is measuring my own sense of responsibility in response to the need of another person.
Do I desire what the Nicaraguan culture has? I saw some things that deeply influenced me. There were some experiences that made me uncomfortable. There were some experiences that challenged old perceptions and concepts. There were also some scenes that inspired me… and that is why I am at this place in my own processing of this past week. It is the smile of the old man that welcomed me to the life of living with fear and insecurity; yet living a life that reflects a sense of gratitude for all that is given not in a life time nor in a year’s time but on a daily breath by breath moment.
I am not comfortable in answering how this past week in Nicaragua was… but then again change is never supposed to be comfortable. It is a personal season where, as Sharif Abdulhamid, told me that the “lens gets smudged”. Your spiritual muscles get torn and ripped apart so that new muscle cells of our conscience can grow. We become stronger as a society when we take change and learn from it.
I cannot label this with simple adjectives… no single emotion can embrace what my heart can hold.
Albert Einstein was an amazing man and it was not just in the realm of mathematics and physics. I learn more about him as a person when I read his thoughts on social justice issues, so his comments above are great guides in not just in the aspect of work but also in life itself.
- “…out of clutter find simplicity…” Life many times is completely messy. We get entangled in the busyness of life so much that we lose the beauty of simple things
- “…from discord find harmony…” We all have multiple opportunities to be in community. These communities will inevitably have discord. It is a fact of nature that we will either have our own or will encounter someone that has a misconceived perception. These ill designed sensitivities will cause disunity. So, within the wind swept mountain side we many times need to find a common place of refuge so that all can find shelter.
- “…in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” It is in the middle of difficulty that we are going to discover the most valuable opportunity. It is in the midst of pain we will search for relief and an answer. In the midst of illness, we search for a cure. The marginal challenges already have an answer built within them; so it is in the depth of conflict that we many times begin to look for the greatest opportunity.