It is crazy, really, to be in the same hotel, one door across from the room I was in last year, reliving in my head all the moments in these dear rooms, missing Jess and finding so much comfort in the same bedspreads, towels, sheets and curtains. The same bus, same smells, same air to breathe. I love it so much here.
I am such a different person this year than last year here. I hesitate to say I was carefree last year because I wasn't, but it was different kinds of cares. Cares and hurts that were quickly healed and transformed by events. But, truth be told, those cares, though healed and vanished now, were a long healing process.
One thing I realize this year is that there is no event in our lives that is the healing of anything. What it takes is Jesus. I've been trying to understand what joy actually is and especially how it is possible with everything that life assaults us with. And I've stopped praying that circumstances would change or that life would become easier or that a different dream will come true and make me supremely happy. Happy, I think, depends at least somewhat on circumstancaes. It is joy that is going to be the overarching desire to smile and grow and change and heal and laugh and love and live and especially love inspite of it all. Inspite of the pain. That is what joy is.
But joy only comes after we open our hearts to everything – scars and rips and holes and bruises along with love -- from God and people -- beautiful things and good thoughts, intentions, dreams and hopes. After we realize that God is really our one and only. It takes trust and giant leaps of faith and effort and difficult decision making and lots more trust. And these things take time. But this, this is just the beginning. Good things are coming every day.
And now it's time for breakfast with Allison.
On the very top of Hotel Paraiso. Wind breathed whispers and echoes of hope. I've been doing a lot of thinking about hope today. Esperanza. It is popping up everywhere -- in my heart, on the graffitied walls of the streets of Trujillo, in Pastor Trice's sermon. Funny how even when I can feel my heart ache in my stomach and my thoughts and feelings mingle till the tears seem ineveitable, still hope has a place to stay here inside me.
The measure of our breaths leads to a measure of our days and I think the only way to live a life that's worth it is to realize that every moment is one worth living to the hilt.
Clouds are still heavy in Trujillo, and the mountain is mostly hidden from sight. My ink pen scratching furiously with the potted rooftop plants blowing oblivious to my presence and my eyes scan the broken-in flat rooftops and the grime and dust of the city below. I am dreaming up life and happiness into every corner of this place. And catching my breath in the heaven sent breeze I remember no breath must be wasted. Every single breath is a world of potential.
It all goes back to hope, really. We live looking optimistically for adventures and expecting treasure and seeking beauty and magic in the most unlikely of circumstances, events and places only because we have hope in Someone who's looking for the same things. And make no mistake; if he is looking for them too, they will be found. But it doesn't stop or even really start with hope, because the hope is no good to us if we do not believe in it. And so we start with faith. Giant leaps of it, too, because the standards of this world are low and to shoot for what's higher than the stars takes a lot of belief. But what are we, without belief? But it doesn't end with hope either because the rainbow won't be seen through the rainstorm until we've allowed the seed of love to be planted in our hearts and grown with streams of grace. Love is the oxygen, our breath, the way we find all we hope in. Love is the full potential of our hope and we will strive and search for more all our lives and it will always be there for the finding.
But today I am especially thankful for hope and I am hungry for more. And I am praying that faith and hope and love soon lead to real, blown-out joy.
Today has been blessed indeed. Breakfast was yummy and brought back so many memories from last year. We sang/practiced some spanish songs and then Allison and I explored the hotel. I like the rooftop porches so much.
We went to the Arevalo Church. I was sad not to go to Cristo Rey, but the service at Arevalo was wonderful. So wonderful. The singing was vibrant and joyful with clapping and drums and guitar and we knelt for confession and Pastor Trice preached and I soaked it all up like a dry sponge. His sermon was on the church being a nurturing community, and my mind raced back to the sermons he's given us which have led to the journey our church is on now. I love hearing the english and then the spanish, and watching Pastor Wes translate is fascinating. Bonnie snuggled next to me for service and I followed along some in her spanish Bible.
The people at Arevalo are sweet and joyful and brought us delish tamales and some drink which was fantastic after service (Kevin C's given me a mission of finding out how to make tamales like that). After church we first made our way (in the darling bus of course) back to the hotel, then quickly to the Davenports for lunch. I sat next to Ellie and right behind Kevin Dav. He is a dear. He has grown up so much since last year -- they all have -- and I am mucho impressed by him.
Lunch was (unsurprisingly) amazing. Fellowship was equally fantastic. Seth looked bored so I talked to him and he soon convinced me to follow him up to his room to play Playmobil and then we proceeded to look at all 117 pages of his Police Equipment Book. Fascinating. He is one cute kid. I love him so much.
Scripture/singing/prayer time was sweet, in spite of the fact that my stool was hard as rock and Nathan found great delight in poking me from his seat behind me. Actually, he has grown up too, the little punk.
We left not too long after worship and now Allison and I are chilling on the rooftop. Supper's not too long from now (though how we are supposed to eat after such a lovely large lunch is beyond me) and then it's to bed. I am definitely looking forward to a week of work, though I wish it could be longer. I can't wait to hug some Peruvian kids. Allison and I will hopefully be with the construction crew on Tuesday and Wednesday and we are very excited about that. I am itching to get sore and exhausted and dirty. My goodness, that's what I'm here for, after all.
Well supper was amazing. And I feel super fat. We ate at the 'chicken restaurant' which has the greatest chicken ever. I sat across from Mr. DeBoer and Mr. Cleveland and between James and Allison. So fun. We had a surprisingly eventful time between supper and now which included the toilet clogging and Kevin explaining that to the hotel lady using pictures and acting skillz, and a crazy walk into the city square (that is a story that is better not made public) and Allison and I being very thankful for several bodyguard guys each. Anyway, it's off to bed for us now. I can't wait for the week to begin.
|Lunch at the Davenports|
|Hannah being her usual awesome self|
|I am convinced it doesn't get any cuter than this|
|Demonstrating our mad skillz at the 'Cup Game'|
|Isaiah climbing the tree|
|Ellie being beautiful as always|
|Ellie and Millie Baker. Such good buds :)|