Saturday, August 23, 2014

catch up numero uno : views from the road

(I have a habit of starting without finishing, of getting so caught up in the phrasing of a thought that I never quite articulate it. And I've discovered in these days now that I've returned to Canada from Honduras that this habit results in rather a stockpile of written-never-published blog posts. This week I'll make a half-hearted attempt to play blogging catch up - as long as it doesn't prevent me from enjoying these last weeks of Vancouver summer!

And so...back to blogged thoughts from Honduras:)

There are days when life moves fast and days when life moves slow and I feel that (as I've written before) I am in a constant battle to live with contentment - contentment in all circumstances as Paul says - with every pace thrown my way. Sometimes moments pass by so laden with smells and tastes and sounds that all you can do is bow the knee and give thanks. Like snowflakes you catch for a moment or two on your tongue or gloved hand, when life moves slow it's easy to catch life fully and savour it for a moment before it melts away. And then there are seasons when seconds pass by so quickly that their individual weight is blurred, raindrops that follow one after the other so quickly that each one is subsumed into the next and time moves with the waterfall rush of Honduras' wildest storms. 

Sometimes I forget that even rainstorms pour into the soil and bring forth new things from the earth. I forget that even when I cannot and do not slow myself down to savour seconds, God is at work in the rainstorms. My life has been in rainy season of late - a time not to be confused with sorrow but simply with abundant activity. Scarcely is there a morning of sun but it is followed by an afternoon of rain. In the midst of this rainy season, then, this time of seconds subsumed into seasons, I am learning to be content with the wild pace of it all, to allow myself to be swept into the rush until a moment emerges when I can look back and see the rich, rich spring growth (in myself most of all) that the rains (and God who so often moves through them) leave in their wake. 

I took a long road trip this past week, around eight hours of sitting in a van driving first through the terraced, rolling, misty hills of Honduras, then through the dry, hot land that longs for rain, into the city of San Pedro Sula and then back along the same route. Travel does a funny thing to time. It moves oh-so-slowly inside the van (punctuated with the antsy antics of children and, let's be honest, myself), but when looking outside all one can catch are stolen glimpses - a fragment of graffitied wall, a quick view between billboards of the rolling mountains beyond. But there is beauty even in the quickly captured glimpses of the road beyond; the road is beautiful even when moving so quickly that the sights are blurred by speed, by passing trucks, by a strand of hair that blows in front of eyes And sometimes, if ever so lucky, the sun hits a spot of dust on the windshield and suddenly all that can be seen is the sun sun sun shining down on the road and everything passing by. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

On Chasing Contentment

As a general rule, I'm the kind of person who likes to plan. The grass is always greener, you know, and all to often the other side of the fence is on the other side of today. I do so love to plan for tomorrow, so much so that sometimes I forget about today.

Today I am sitting in a cafe here in Copan. Five minutes ago a torrent of rain ended. Thirty minutes or so before that the sun shone so bright that I moved my chair into the shade. And when the rain with a crash broke through the sky and the winds picked up, bringing mangoes from the trees down to the ground, the air was mist not air and the brilliant sky grew dark. But more rapidly than I thought possible the crash of rain ended with a whimper, the sky brightened, and now I can see two lizards running back and forth across the grass beside me, upright on their back legs, dinosaurs in miniature. Who knows what the next thirty minutes will bring?

I think I am content with today even though, right now, I cannot plan for the next thirty minutes. I've often sought to chase contentment around the world and back. On dark January days it is my habit to slip into googlemaps, plotting trips and looking down roads in places on the other side of my today,  places that are not my place.

Ten days ago I was preparing for the other side of today, dreaming that distant future that is now my today. And, unlike my habit, as I planned I was content with my little house in Vancouver, my walks to the beach, my homework and my work with kids.

Now that I am here in Honduras I am still consumed with planning for future events and exciting days to come. But I appreciate these moments when a torrent transforms the brilliant blue of the sky into darkness and I'm forced to remember that this moment is my present, and it is good.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On Packing

I've been purging life's detritus of late. 

I've faced my inner hoarder, the girl whose freezer overflows with a stash of frozen bananas (fourteen if you must know), endless quantities of ends of bread and an empty container of ice cream that remained in the freezer for who knows how long because I was too embarrassed to acknowledge by tossing it promptly just how quickly I finished eating it. I've been chasing after loose ends, making calls to soandso about suchandhsuch, going on errands to find a bitofthisabitofthat. 

I've been gathering these loose ends and dropped threads together into a mound of yesterday's newness and today's trash, moving what I need and tossing what I don't. It's funny how it all builds up around me. 

It isn't comfortable to say goodbye to my detritus. Its build up makes me feel comfortable, at home. I know I am at home in a place when my freezer has fourteen bananas, a past collected with high hopes of future banana bread. But even though packing is a temporary bother, it means new beginnings. In this case, in two (goodness gracious, two!) days I'll be boarding a plane and heading south to a town in Honduras where thunder strikes the night sky and where the cobblestone streets hum with stray dogs and taxis and streams of people. I'll be serving with UrbanPromise Honduras once again, this time as intern director. It is a good beginning I'm moving towards in the midst of present endings. 

I want to start chasing after words again in the midst of my travels. Words have been elusive lately, easily found to write a book report or an email, but less available when just for fun. But they help me to piece life together, to figure out how yesterday becomes tomorrow and how my hoarded bananas are actually (perhaps?) a symbol of hope. 

I've decided to use this blog (rather than for this year's journeying so please take a look here now and again to see some pictures of where I am and what I'm doing and (hopefully) some words that strive to piece it all together.