One thing I’ve noticed while being here in Guatemala is that in the mornings, there is a wonderful chill in the air. The sun is bright and as a result many people walk on the sunny side of the street to warm up.
Likewise, in the afternoons, the sun is beating down and all of the people choose to walk on the shady side of the street where the temperatures are probably 20 degrees cooler. It’s a choice that everyone makes and that choice is relative to the time of day…but there are definite consequences to that choice.
This got me thinking about a childhood song that we all know and I believe it holds the secret to a life well lived….
Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Let me break it down and show you what I mean…
Row, Row, Row.
In life…we must put forth an effort. Nobody is going to do the work for you. You must “row” and not just once..or a little bit…but you must row, row and row.
Many people in life are concerned with everyone else’s boat. They want to control or influence what everyone is does or “should” do. Instead, focus only on “your boat”…it’s all you can control anyway.
Life requires work…but we are to move through life…gently. Being humble, loving and “not splashing around” making everyone else crazy!
Down the Stream.
We are not salmon. We are not supposed to swim upstream…although many do and want a merit badge for it. We are to “flow” with life and our calling. We all know it when we are…and when we aren’t…
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily.
This is the result of doing everything I’ve mentioned above. We get to experience what I believe is the most “underestimated” emotion we have access to…**joy**. This is different from being “happy.” Joy engages the soul and resides at a much deeper level. Joy rocks!
Life is but a Dream.
We get one shot down this trip down the river called life. At some point in the future we are going to wake up and realize all we “could have done” or “should have done” and some of us will be filled with joy and some…not so much… It’s a choice…it’s our choice.
Well, that’s it. I know this is a simple song, but I believe it holds much wisdom if we would just put it all into practice. We all have choices that we make each day and these choices will place us on one side of the street or the other.
I heard that statement recently and the more I think about it…the more truth I find in its simplicity. Often times our days are so full of activities and other distractions that our lives become a blur. Our days become one continuous stream of activity, to do lists, and we are subjected to a constant barrage of information we have rarely asked for or need.
However, what I have discovered in the short time I have been here in Guatemala is the beauty of the space that exists when those things are absent. I am learning what to do when I don’t have internet. I am learning how to live without a phone or mail. I am learning how to exist without a car. I am learning how to live without having access to TV to watch sports and my goofy reality TV shows. I am learning how to listen to people talk and not understand the words they are saying, yet understanding the meaning behind the words. I am separated from what I have known and what has been familiar…yet I am beginning to see clearly.
I mean this figuratively and literally! I wear glasses when I am home in order to drive and to see anything over 5’ away. However, since I have been here in Guatemala, I have not needed to wear them. I can see perfectly! I am also beginning to hear the voice of my heart. I know it sounds weird, but being able to walk to school each morning is a wonderful 20 minute way to begin my day. I look around at the people, the flowers, the buildings and of course the volcanos that surround the city. I hear the birds chirping, the “chicken buses” roaring past and I feel the cool breeze on my face. I hear the faint voice of my heart speaking to me in a me in a way that I can’t describe. This is sacred time and I cherish it.
I never had these experiences before and I am beginning to understand why. I believe it is only when we can look at our lives from a distance that we really can determine if we are living the life we truly want to live. I believe I finally am. Distance brings clarity…and for the first time in a very long time…I can see 20/20.
It sure seems a little different not having a whole bunch of people around…different…not bad! 🙂 Seriously though…what I am finding different is that there is a “rhythm” of daily life here that I need to figure out and how I can join in. It is much different than when we are here with teams and are the center of attention. Oscar has his daily routine as does Amy and Diego and I don’t want to interrupt that.
The mornings here are the best, sunny and all the sounds that I love…dogs barking, bus sounds, weird birds and roosters combine into a wonderful tranquil symphony and even the sound of hand clippers and rakes on concrete as Don Tohitto and his accomplice clip and rake Oscar’s yard by hand…even in the rain. But by noon, the clouds roll in and it is a totally different story. It rained so hard on Monday that it sounded like a fire hose was turned on. Then by evening, its cool and calm once again. Our having dinner at about 6:30 and in bed by 7:00 seems to be the way of life…and not a bad one either.
My first day started by having coffee with Amy as she sat in her chair looking out at the back yard. She is reading a devotional by Charles Swindoll. She said that Annie may have some job opportunities for me in Antigua. One, at the chocolate shop (Fernando’s) and the other at the coffee plantation. That is awesome and I’m going to follow up on both. The rest of the morning was spent driving around with Diego to several of his ongoing jobsites. It’s good to see him in construction again…that is his sweetspot. I got passed off to Oscar at about noon and we ran errands…Pricesmart (not affiliated with Costco), the bank, the water store and the local market. I can tell that he is ready for me to get behind the wheel and become the “errand boy” because he was challenging me with which turn to take to get to and fro. I did pretty well…even without the GPS. That is fine…I’m looking forward to helping them anyway I can.
Once the rains rolled in…we pretty much shut down until dinner. I spent some time making the casita a little more like home. Amy got me a small table, chair and lamp. So now I can have a place to sit and work on the computer without having to sit on the bed. I love it and it really feels like home.
Oscar had a lightning strike hit his property recently and it affected several of his electronics. Like Diego’s apple TV, Oscars wifi and computer and some other stuff. So we are having to work with getting all of that back online and working. Just another day….
Well that’s about it so far. I think I’m really starting to loosen up…well…starting….!