Friday, March 16, 2007

raindrops and green grass

i sit here in a thin skirt and tee-shirt, trying to think of a creative way to cool off more without becoming completely immodest. it is the dry season in canilla and it is hot. and brown. and dead-looking. i have been told that one day i will look at this and see it for its beauty, but for right now all i see is that the once regal-looking lush mountains now look like big piles of dirt, and everytime we drive somewhere with the windows down, i feel like i have just taken a bath in the sand by the time we get where we are going, even a mile down the road to town. and it is not unbearable and it is not horrible, and there are good things about this season too - like driving on roads that are not half washed-out or drenched in puddles of mud that you slip and slide in, waiting to plummet over the side of the mountain next to you. but even so, sometimes i miss the rain and i miss green. and the life that these nourish and testify to.

this past week we were able to go to a local school and do a lesson on the GI system, including amoebas and bacteria, brushing our teeth, and nutrition. it was pretty basic, but these kids ate it up, excitedly bringing up their hand-colored pictures of fruit and vegetables and ice cream to paste on the food guide pyramid we created. i watched as the guys beamed with pride when they could correctly identify their food item and then tell me where it went, even though fourteen other kids before them had correctly identified the exact same thing and already placed it on the pyramid. and i found myself trying to keep from laughing as i sat at a table with four girls, my mouth wide open, letting these girls "practice" brushing my teeth with a toothbrush as they shyly covered their giggles with their hand, their eyes crinkled in laughter. and then the next day we went to work at the orphanage in san andres, baking cookies, painting pictures, playing basketball, putting stickers on each others' faces, or just sitting and talking, surrounded by life.

and i tried to take it all in for just a moment: little faces anxious to share what they had just learned, little hands carefully choosing the right crayon to be used for coloring the apple, little mouths that would sneakily squeeze in one bite of the cookie dough before placing it on the cookie sheet, little fingers licked clean before diving back into the bowl to form another round ball of dough, little bodies covered in paint, laughter, joy, and life. and the most riveting of all, little eyes that looked into yours with excitement, anticipation, and a light of hope that seems to often become snuffed out more and more the older a person gets.

and i stood there rooted in one spot, tears coming to my eyes, although i was not sure why except for the fact that i was also suddenly aware that it was one of those moments where you remember the beauty of something gone, although you had somehow grown accustomed to its absence; like that first drop of rain on a hot day, or like finding a blade of green grass standing tall among a sea of brown dirt.

i didn't realize it at the time, but my heart had started to match the season in which we found ourselves... dry. not unhappy, not in turmoil or distress, not discontent, but simply dry. i have found myself in a time of transition: somewhere between the states and here, somewhere between a student and a "real nurse," somewhere between who i was in the states and who i am becoming here, realizing that my place is not in the states any longer, yet also feeling like i am still at the very beginning of finding my place here. and some of this sense of transition was settled a few weeks ago when leslie informed me that someone had emailed them and said that they would annonymously like to cover my base monthly cost for living here past may. and i didn't realize how much of a transition i felt like i was in until i actually had some confirmation from god of where i am supposed to be past may, happy that he is allowing me to continue to live out my dreams here. and i know that this is not an end all and that there is still other expenses and such beyond what these gracious people pledged, and that we still keep moving and changing, laying each day before our Father, trusting Him to protect, guide, provide for, and love us daily. but it was also a beginning step of bringing my heart here a little more, a step that has been slowly followed by many more as i have walked through these past few weeks.

i know that there are different seasons that we go through in life, just like the weather. and i firmly believe that this is part of God's gracious will for us as we walk on this earth, that as ecclesiastes 3 tells us, "there is a time for everything," a season for everything under heaven, and that God is still moving and working in each of these seasons. i know that there are things that needed to happen during this "dry" time in my life, things that could only happen as i pulled back my heart a little from this earth and let myself rest in His arms a little more. and i am reminded of this mostly when i look at the world of flowers and trees around us right now: they too have lost a little of the beauty that they bring to this world - able to fool almost any passerby that they are quite dead, despite the fact that they are not - but they patiently wait, standing strong in what they have been created to be, knowing that this is a needed time in their existence and that God is moving in this season too. and so i too continued to walk, placing my hand in His, willing myself to trust that He was there moving among the dryness, the browness, the dirt... among the appearance of death, the confusion, and the pain, even though i couldn't always feel Him and even though i couldn't always see Him. because that is all we can do... trust and walk on.

and then it happened... i felt that first raindrop. and i started to see signs of the lush green life that had been seemingly absent: in a reminder that God is taking care of us, and that He still speaks to us and moves within our daily lives and concerns no matter how small; in a smile and a toothbrush; in a big piece of blank paper and a paintbrush; in a walk on a night when only the moon is needed to light your way; in talks that last late into the night, long after you have forgotten that you have to get up early the next morning; in two little arms wrapped around your neck in a hug or a tiny mouth first learning how to blow a kiss in your direction; in an email and phone call just to say hi and i miss you; in a lunch of your choice made especially for your birthday, and presents that remind you that there are people that care about what is important to you; in relationships that restore your faith in people... that challenge you and grow you, but also become a place where you can rest, where you can cry, where you can laugh... where you find yourself becoming more of yourself each day.... where you remember that you do not walk alone.

we truly are blessed, all of us, no matter what season we find ourselves in. and i hope that you are truly living in whatever season you find yourself in - dry, rainy, stormy, calm, happy, sad. for as a dear friend always reminds me, "we can only live where we are." or something like that. and there is a purpose in each of these seasons and a specific reason that each of them are in our lives. so, i pray that we all learn to live where we are, content in knowing that God is moving, and trusting that even when we find ourselves in the dry season, one day the raindrops will come and the green will return.