Monday, August 17, 2009

My appendix has decided to stay and other ramblings

I have good news to report~ my doctor called and all is well that ends well! He ran just about every test and he said that my labs were the best out of all those he was reviewing. My white blood cell counts are beautiful, liver & kidney enzymes perfect, iron, thyroid, and a few other tests all perfectly normal and he sees no cause for concern. PTL! So seems like my appendix is pleasantly content to stay in my body right where I want it to be! Yay!

We are happily returning to normal life, or well our own special version of "normal" whatever that may be although Guatemala is still all we talk about. They are still ever present in our thoughts and on our hearts. We spent the afternoon with our Hannah Banana last week and it was so good to see her! It had been a little over two weeks, we all were missing her. Sammy had been asking several times a day for her and you should have seen his face when she & I pulled up in front of the house. His little head popped out of the front door and he squealed! Fun times! We had a fun trip up to Jacksonville this weekend to visit Cindy and she spoiled us rotten. Cooked us yummy dinner & breakfast and had fun stuff for Sammy. He just adores her! He has asked for her several times since. We went from her house to Sam's parents and had fun with them Sarah & Brenan. We all took him on a choo choo ride in the Avenues Mall, we must have been quite a sight. Sam & I were in the first car, his parents had Sammy in the second, and Sarah and Brennan were in the last car. I just love watching him as he spends time with family. I love seeing him eat up all the attention and deepen those relationships. Just so sweet. Sarah and Brenan have set the date for their wedding, it will be Feb 20th! So excited for them, they are too cute. I am super impressed with their rapid wedding planning. It has only been little over month I think since he proposed and so much is already accomplished! She is taking 5 classes this semester so wanted to get bulk out of way, smart girl!

As with our other mission trips to Guatemala, we are still pondering all that we experienced while there. I feel like we experience 10 days worth of things in each day there b/c so much goes on. It makes me sad b/c I feel like I have so many stories not just from this trip but our others too that we will never be able to tell. Sure they spill out in conversations as something sparks my memory but I wish I could just capture all of my thoughts and feelings while there. Speaking of.. Andrea, I missed your journaling this year! I try to keep a journal each year but our days are so packed and by the time my head hits the pillow it is all I can do to write 2 pages (not nearly enough) before I am in dreamland. Thus given my new found love of blogging this year, perhaps stories will leak out on here as I feel inspired. =)

Reentry to the states has become easier after each trip but it is still difficult to adjust back to life in the states after being in a third world country. In fact, we spend time talking about reverse culture shock in our team meetings before each trip so that those going can be prepared for the thoughts and emotions you experience when you return. I remember our first trip left such an impression on me that I couldn't go into the mall for a solid 2 months! That is about the time my fashion really hit a low b/c I just couldn't even get excited about clothes and shoes like I had before and we all know that means I was SERIOUSLY affected. It is weird b/c we had seen poverty in the West Indies and Bahamas and we have poverty here in the states obviously but seeing it as we did in Guat, names & faces and life stories was just different. Heart wrenching. Needless to say after returning from our fourth trip the reverse culture shock is not that drastic but my heart still is heavy and burdened. It is difficult to hang out and hold typical conversations with people, to look around and see people consumed with daily life and I can't help but wonder what weighs on their hearts. Do they share a burden for the hurting and opressed or are they worried about making their next nail appointment on time? Usually I feel this sense of urgency to hurry up and just acclimate to "normal" life again so that I can enjoy the American lifestyle with a raised awareness free of guilt but this time as weird as it may seem I am actually praying that the nagging pain I feel in my soul will not lessen with time. I don't want to so easily push aside all that I've seen and felt.

I think perhaps the plight of the typical Guatemalan became abundantly more clear to me on this trip more than ever before b/c of my experience in the hostpital (several have asked when I will write about that, I will in time but for now see Sam's post about his side of our experience on his blog -Augst 9th post "Speedbumps, Scorpions, and a blessing named Tim"here. This trip I saw the depths of poverty experienced there in a new light. I became so aware of the times I have complained about our "gross" carpet (you know because it is berber and not plush, oh it is a hard life indeed) or decided against inviting a group of friends over b/c our house was not in tip top shape or I felt we didn't have enough room. In Guat a family a 6 can live in a slum house or hut with dirt floor that is literally the size of our bathroom. Did I feel guilty for my complaining and how easily I take our lifestyle for granted? Yup.

Once through customs in Miami you are bombarded by the difference in our lifestyle and theirs. Typically the flights back from Guat to the states are filled with mostly Guatemalans, dressed to the nines, eagerly anticipating their stay in the the good ol' US of A. I have gathered from several conversations with random strangers over the years that several are going for the first time. I love the cheers that all the passengers give when we land, didn't here those on my flights back from Bahamas or Canada. I just remember staring at our tiny fellow Guatemalan passengers as we all exited customs & baggage claim together and wondering what their first impressions of America were? What would they think of us afer a week in the states? Would they wonder why so many Americans have so much yet seem to do so little for others?

Now that I know what I have seen there what will I do?

I will not begin to appear as if I have the answer to this one. =) All I can say is I am in prayer as to how I can better help and make more of a difference. I know that what I have seen there is not right and not how it is supposed to be, not what God intended. I will leave you with this quote I found a while ago on the LPM blog. Just seemed perfect for how I am feeling.

“The cry for justice in the world, then, must be taken up and amplified by the Christian church, as the proper response to the voice of the living God. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit indicate that there are ways forward…Christians should be energetic in advocating and pursuing that justice for which all human beings long and which burst upon the world, in a fresh and unexpected way, through Jesus.” (N.T. Wright)