Sunday, February 27, 2011

Safe Arrival in Honduras

Random thoughts and impressions:

--Thankful for a safe trip, and reminded again of the beauty of Honduras.

--Exasperated with the incompetence of the airlines which will remain nameless, other than to say it is the last word in U.S.A. and add an "n."  We arrived at San Pedro Sula airport and two of our 5 checked bags did not arrive.  Two large durable plastic trunks with many supplies.  The airlines put our baggage on 2 different flights.   Go figure. We are to receive the trunks in 2-3 days.

--Thankful for twentysomethings.  I was amazed at the number of different teams of twentysomethings on our flight, coming down for the purpose of serving the poor.  This disavowal of a life of total consumption and, instead, desiring to give, encourages me immensely.  You rock.

--This is such a country of contrasts.  San Pedro Sula is urban, high-tech.  Mercedez dealerships. Malls that compare to ours.  A "latino sexuality" particularly in women's attire, flaunting cleavage, lot of bling. A short drive and people in rags, dogs with ribs protruding, no running water or electricity.

--I'm spoiled.  A middle-upperclass baby. Our 2 room "apartment" in which we we spent our first night has no stove, no frig.   Can't drink the tap water--too risky. The front door lock doesn't work.  The mattress has strands of wire running through it.   The shower head has an electrical unit on it that you switch on to create hot water and to apparently shorten your life if you happen to be standing in any water.  It's fondly called "the widow-maker."  And there are millions of people who are begging to have such a life of luxury. 

--Grateful for my wife who embraces the simple life with acceptance and thankfulness, while I whine.

--Excited about what these next three months might hold. Excited about opportunities to serve, help, befriend, embrace, build.  Excited about the potential changes within us as we step out into unchartered territory.

--I want to savor each moment and have no regrets at the end of each day.  I don't want to hold back and then at end of day to lament, "if only. . . "

--And that's my hope for you, as well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adios for a While

We leave Friday, 2/25, for our 3 months in Honduras, serving the poor.  The electricity there is unpredictable and Internet unreliable.  My intent is to blog while down there.  I hope my good intentions translate into action.  

This is a new chapter in the story of our life, new terrain yet to be explored on our journey. 

I am grateful for your reading of my blogs and the interaction thus far.  I will appreciate your patience as we get acclimated.  Once settled in, I will post a blog.  

We're still packing and have a lot to do in the next 15 hours before departure.  I'd better get to it.

Grace and peace to each of you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Heads Up Before We Head Out

In 9 days my wife and I will be flying to Honduras and living there in an impoverished area for three months.  We will be working with Mercy International, constructing houses for the poor and possibly helping kids in the school system.  There is a lot up in the air so late in the game.  We just now secured a 2-room apartment that supposedly has a bed init--the condition and cleanliness of the bed unknown.   We do not have cellphone arrangements worked out and may have to wait until we get there to do so.  These and more create high anxiety for me.  My wife is much calmer about it than I.  That's fortunate; we'd be getting nothing done if both of us were tucked in a fetal position.  I think I'm regressing; I don't recall sucking my thumb prior to making this monumental decision.  Of course, at my age recalling my DOB requires a post-it note.

I'm anxious about immaterial matters, such as not being able to get a deep tan.  I love the sun and have for decades.  Apparently, the sun doesn't share a similar fondness for me.  In recent years a dermatologist has made me aware of numerous sites of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma.  I have been having them removed 2 or 3 at a time.  I have vowed that I will now protect myself with sunscreen.  The thought of being lily white after three months in Central America is not appealing.  However, the thought of possibly no more surgeries requiring staples and stitches to close the sites is very appealing.   My vanity will take a hit.

I'm anxious about important matters.  I have friends and family that are terribly struggling with life.  I don't believe that staying home would make a difference in their life. That's not the issue.  The issue is that being here gives me a sense of security in that at least I am available and can see and talk with them and do something for them if they requested.  I will feel helpless living so far away. 

I can feel the sadness slowly mounting as the reality of our departure draws closer. This past Sunday  was the  last time we  will see our friends in our community of faith.   I know I won't be able to embrace and say good-bye to everyone that I care about.  We won't get to see everyone before we leave, and words will be left unspoken and hugs withheld.

Yet, in all of this I am nonetheless excited.   The day we arrive there will also be a team from the U.S. flying in to do construction work.  I can't wait.  If possible I want to start building with them or hiking up into the mountains with them to build a shelter up there.   My  adrenalin is pumped;  I don't want to gradually tiptoe into this adventure.  I want to plunge in.

I am excited about the prospects of making an impact on families--an impact lasting for generations.
I'm excited about how all of this will impact ourselves.  I have a feeling that the intensity of this work and the harshness of the environment will serve to purge our marriage and make it stronger.  I'm not looking forward to the stress it may place on our relationship, but I view the stress as a means to a beautiful end.

I realize I am rambling and for that I apologize.  I'm not feeling real linear and sequential right now.  I also apoligize for the long delay in posting this blog.  I'm very distracted.     

I hope to post one more blog before we leave on 2/25.  Electricity and the Internet down there are not particulary reliable.  Consequently, I don't know how frequently I will be blogging.  Also, we could be up in the mountains working for a week at a time with no access to computer.  I appreciate your patience in all this.

I intend to chronicle these coming three months and share with you our experiences.  I appreciate your reading and following thus far; I hope you'll stick with me.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Procrastination: Trains stop at train stations; Buses stop at bus stations; On my desk is a workstation.

If I were Catholic I would be crowned the Pope of Procrastination.  If I worked the casinos I would be the Dealer of Distraction.  If I were a snow-covered peak I would be the Avalanche of Avoidance.  You get the idea.

(I alert you I'm also the Ally of Alliteration-- but I digress, I do.) 

It's very frustrating and adds to my stress but I persist in putting off tasks/projects until the last minute. I've analyzed it.. There are a number of reasons why I procrastinate.  Sometimes, I fear the magnitude of a task and simultaneously question my ability to manage it.  I will then delay my perceived forthcoming failure as long as possible.  There are times when the task or responsibility is distasteful or undesirable; consequently I avoid the unpleasant issue as long as possible.  Other times I invest a task with more difficulty than it actually contains--I blow its magnitude out of proportion--and avoid facing it until absolutely necessary.  At times, quite frankly, I would rather play than work and I choose to play now and work later.  Much later.

Unfortunately, analyzing it--as I have just done--does not necessarily change it.  In fact, too much mere thinking about it  could prolong my avoidance as I succumb to the paralysis of analysis.   Maybe Nike was right--just do it.

The Scriptures in which I attempt to ground my life certainly do not support my procrastinating.  The sacred text contains phrases like "THIS day choose. . . " and "THIS is the day. . . "   Not tomorrow, later or whenever.   

I'm trying, I think.  On the one hand, I grimace at the realization that I have procrastinated in sitting down and blogging about my tendency to procrastinate  That's a sorry look in the mirror. On the other hand, I did do it THIS day and I  detect a slight smile as I take a second look.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Best Things In Life Aren't Things

Some of you know, some don't.  I'll share in more detail soon.  In a little over 3 weeks my wife and I are leaving our family and friends and for 3 months will serve the poor in Honduras.  I will miss a lot.

I will miss all the conveniences currently at my disposal, but I'll adjust.
I will miss the easy access to stores, but I'll survive and simplify. 
I will miss instantaneous Internet,  but will learn to delay gratification.
I will miss fb on demand, but will hopefully interact with my wife more and everyone else less.
I will miss my friends and my community of faith, but  I know I will cope with their absence.
I will miss going to a movie, but will learn to enjoy a sunset, instead.
I will miss my big house, but will soon appreciate any space available. 

And I will miss my family and I do not have a clue how life will go on without them.  This morning one of our daughters sent me this photo of her two boys, which translates into my two grandboys.    I cried.  I cried because I love them so much, I cried because I know I will miss them so much.

Yeh, I know.  There's Skype, etc etc etc etc.  I can take photos with us.  All sorts of options.  All of that will help, but the painful truth is-- a photo in your hand doesn't compare to a child in your arms. 

Thanks for allowing me a melancholy moment.