As it turns out, we can´t stack the deck of our spiritual journey. We don´t really choose our path to Christ. I went into Lent thinking ¨this year will be more meaningful, this Lent will really move me. Fasting will take on new meaning amidst malnutrition. Sacrifice will mean more amidst poverty. I will learn about God through all these things. They will inspire my prayer and enrich my life here.¨
Sure, the hunger pains reminded me that the kids at Manos feel that every day. Yes, choosing not to fill silence and free time with tv, music, catching up on work, or unnecessary visits to the cyber helped me to understand how these luxuries should be used. But it was a personal relationship in the States that burned down that taught me how to love from the middle of the fire. And being able to share that with select neighbors here really put me in a slingshot to more authentic human relationships, a sharing of selves, with women that have been cheated on, unloved, abused, and humiliated in ways far too familiar for women here. And from the depths of their suffering and the lessons they´ve learned, they helped me resurrect.
Not really how I expected to enter into a deeper conversation with Christ, or experience solidarity with Ecuadorians, or learn a little bit about how to love from the cross, or get a glimpse of the glory of God in brokenness and forgiveness, or feel the hope that the resurrection means for us. But lucky for us, we don´t get to decide how God will be present to us.
I get a kick out of retreatants when they ask me ¨so, why are here?¨ Hell if I know. Why did I fill out the application and get on that plane in August, or why did God lead me here and what will it mean for the rest of my life? One I can sort of answer, the other, maybe I´ll never know. And I like it that way.