Saturday, November 26, 2011
Random Reflections about Life Back Home
We returned from rural, poverty-stricken Honduras two weeks ago. A culture shock to say the least. Here's some of my impressions and observations, most of which are not "pretty."
**We're becoming a bunch of fat slobs. I'm not suggesting that there are no fat slobs in Honduras. Neither am I implying that all people who are overweight are slobs, i.e. lazy couch occupiers whose only calorie burn is the effort it takes to wipe the cake off their face. I know there are genetic and medical and organic (e.g. thyroid) factors for a number of people. But, really?
Maybe it's the diet of the poor in Honduras--typically rice and beans. Maybe it's the small proportions of food available at any given time. Maybe when you eat to live rather than live to eat you tend to have little excess weight.
**I notice the extreme sensory stimulation with which we are bombarded here at home. Non-stop traffic movement. Unending traffic sounds. The decibel level of human voices in most restaurants makes it nearly impossible to have a quiet conversation because you have to talk more loudly than the surrounding clamor so that the person sitting three feet across from you can hear you. Visual overload everywhere. Technological incoming messages abound. Advertising screaming for my attention, whether via billboards, commercials, internet. It's exhausting. When are we ever still? Quiet. Silent. And how?
**I left basically gracious and thankful people only to return to basically in-your-face entitled people. Thank God there are exceptions but that black-hearted woman who pepper-sprayed competing shoppers on Black Friday may be more of a mirror than an anomaly.
The pace here is nerve-wracking. We are in fifth gear, pedal to the metal, and continually. We sprint to a point of exhaustion. In Honduras they know it's not the 100 meter dash--it's a marathon--and they pace themselves accordingly. I'll be honest--their pace drives me nuts, not because their pace is deficient but because I'm wound up tight and it's difficult to downshift once I'm there. Now that I'm back, I'm noticing the intensity with which most of us sprint. I think it's a recipe for burn-out.
**I am neither glamorizing or idealizing the poor but this is my experience of them. Generally, they are thankful for what have and do not speak much about what they lack. They have very little and somehow find joy in the scarcity. We, on the other hand, are driven by consuming and acquiring and do not seem to be grateful for the abundance, but, instead, complain about that which we do not yet have.
**I go on these trips to serve and help the poor. The great white missionary goes to impart all he knows and he builds these wonderful houses and he thinks he is such a blessing to them. Invariably, these people who are so poor materially bless the great white missionary who is spiritually bankrupt.
I go with the purpose of giving; I return with the outcome of receiving.