Monday, July 07, 2008

Nampa, Part Leaving

I sit under my favorite "thinking spot" here at NNU beside the prayer chapel on the Brandt Center Lawn. I never looked at the dedication plaque on the bench, but it's to Douglas Farmer, from his wife Elaine. I'm not sure who they are, but this bench under the drooping willow tree branches has been my favorite spot for several years now. The electronic bells clang the announcement of the noon hour, and the new sound of the fountain spattering on the rocks blends well with the wind hissing through the willow branches.

I leave tomorrow. I returned from Texas with two short weeks to pack up my life here in preparation for at least 4 years in Costa Rica.

The first week I spent planning and preparing, and also getting a shipment tested and sent down to Costa Rica via a church team in Florida.

This past week I spent packing, attempting to think ahead for future years as well as neatly bring closure to my living space here. Packing for just myself was not too difficult. I am leaving a lot of things behind I will probably need, but I opted to take less just so I wouldn't have the burden of worrying about all my "stuff." I understand I will probably be able to buy most anything I need there, it will just be far more expensive. Plus, I see buying things there as a way of injecting more money into their local economy, in a rather pathetic sort of micro-attempt at fuleing localized businesses and economy. At what point that became a moral duty in my head, I'm not sure.

Regardless, packing reminds me of how much excess I have. Even after packing all I'll need, I still have enough clothes and things to live for 2 more people - and that's what I've used for the past two weeks. All my neglected clothes I don't need.

I also have the bittersweet joy of going through all the sentimental cards and gifts that people have given me over the past year. I'm able to carry with me very few - tucked away in books, Bibles, or my journal. I wish I could take them all, but I think that I learned this year that people's kind thoughts and words are a continually-renewing source of encouragement for me - fresh, new, and energizing every time. Part of me wants to hold on tightly to the blessings I've been given. Part of me aches as I let them go. But part of me looks forward eagerly in cool anticipation for what new sources of joy and motivation may come. God always seems to give just enough for the moment, to keep us coming back for more.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, deciding what to take and what to leave. I've capped my packing at three check-throughs, two of them overweight. One weighs in at 49.2, one at 71.2, the last at 70.0 flat. This being because when I get to Guatemala, there is a different price for check-throughs at more than 50lbs and another price for more than 70lbs. For domestic flights there's one break - at 50lbs. Neither airlines allows more than 100 lbs.

The sermon on Sunday by Dr. Gary Waller was appropriate and convicting. It was from Luke 10 when Jesus sends out the 70 disciples, saying something to the effect of - take nothing with you, be a good guest, bring peace to the home of your hosts, and eat and drink what's given you, don't go from house to house looking for a better meal. Appropriate, I felt.

I'm glad I'm not the only person taking advantage of this nice cool spot at the prayer chapel. Three hispanic ladies have gathered to take their lunch break on a neighboring bench. One of them, Angelina, used to be a custodian over in Wiley. She goes to the intercultural church that I attend and she makes the best enchiladas I've ever had. Now she works in the business building. One of the ladies is her sister (she cleans Ford) and the other is her friend.

As my mind starts to board the plane and my body travels the distance
to another world and another culture, a few words of advice ring
persistently in my ears as I go.

I want us to be completely open, and say yes to everything, even if it's shocking and painful.
  • Francis - the Darjeeling Limited
I feel as though a coiled spring is unwinding inside me, sending me spiraling into the heavens, or down into the the abyss, who knows which...
  • Ernesto "Che" Guevara
When you first arrive as a guest to another culture
- just listen.

After you've been there for a while and know how things work
- just listen.

And after the new places becomes even more familiar than the one you've left
- still, just listen.

Just listen.
  • Grampa Bruce Blowers

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