Monday, April 2, 2012

Paradigm shifts...

I spent spring break in Mexico...not on a beach chair sipping drinks with a handsome cabana boy to bring them but in a dump.    It truly was once a dump and I must say...if  you look at it long enough...it still is a dump.  The interesting thing about this place is that the people who live there call it home...
their home.

Many trips ago, my husband fell in love with the concept of giving a person that lives in a box, the back of a trailer, a broken down bus without wheels, or a rusty shipping container...a home.  He felt "called" (as the "good christians" call it) to go there and build.  He's been there about 3 times in the last year.  To him, that's 5 houses.

This trip, planned at spring break was a group of folks from our church that wanted to go and work.  I was not so sure that I really wanted to go.  I had been to Juarez in 2001 and 2002, built a couple of houses and came home. In 2002, I came home to a newly built house that we just moved into a couple of months before.  I was so conflicted about what the solution is to poverty.  I decided I would never go back and for 10 years, I didn't.  

We drove to the site to find a mound of dirt and materials to build a "double".  In the US, my garage is bigger than a double there.  Next door, living with the lady that was getting the house was a daughter and her husband, two small children, two teenagers, the grandma and one more person.  8 people in a house smaller than my garage. 

Next door, to the left was the next home.  It was a the box of the back of a truck where at least 5 folks slept at night.  Interesting.  The streets are sand mixed with trash and of course, you can't drink the water.  Not my choice to live...but wait, they had no choice.  They are living in the situation that they know as we do every day.

While we were there building for the grandma, a few of the folks that were with us got evacuation notices that a fire was racing through the forest in Conifer.  At first, I didn't think too much about it until I realized that it was at a place called Reynold's Park.  Our land borders that park.  Panic struck my heart and I began to wonder what to do.  What if our house burns, I wondered and we lose everything?  

I called my neighbor and she posted pictures on facebook to show me where the fire was...that close...

As I looked at the pictures, I started to worry about the "what if's".  What if our house burns down?  What if the animals are not evacuated?  (Actually, if the truth be told, if we could lose a few key animals, I would be okay.)  What should I do?   I realized that the most important things in my life were with me...my family and ended the "what if's". 

As I went to bed in the bunk room in my sleeping bag, I realized that as much as I think I have control over things, I don't.  I slept well.  The next day, we headed out to the job site and began to build.  The walls were created and stood, the roof put on, and the house began to take shape.  At one point, I walked into the house next door to use the bathroom and peeked into what the family uses as a bedroom.  Lying on one of the beds was the young mother with her two babies...one sleeping and the other one being hugged and smiled at by mom.  It was a lovely moment for me and of course...got me thinking.  How many times did I stop during the day and lay with my babies?  I didn't do that on a regular basis.  If they were asleep, I was organizing and cleaning all the stuff I already had.  Interesting.

The next day, the house was complete.  Walls, drywall, doors and windows.  It is tiny by american standards but I kept telling myself and others, "I could live in that."  Yeah, right.  To celebrate, we had a barbeque, a band and a dedication...and celebrated the new home.  It was a wonderful day.

So I ask?  Who are the poor?  Is it the folks in Mexico that live on a sandy dump cramming a whole family into a tiny space?  Is it the folks who have no clean water to drink or can't flush the toilet paper?  Is it the folks who spend most of the time with their family and babies, loving them and caring for them...Or, is it me...who didn't make time to lay down and hold my babies before they fell asleep because I had to clean up my stuff?  Or is it you, who works constantly for stuff you don't need, for a status that will fade away when you get old, or for a false sense of control that goes away with the first illness or job loss.  Who are the poor?  I do agree that they are poor in Mexico and Nicaragua and other countries...as a matter of fact, we have lots and lots of poor here in the US.  But poor how? 

That's the paradigm shift for me...sometimes I get so full of myself, I can't stand me.  I am as arrogant and the dudes that run the insurance companies or the politicians that know what we all should be doing to make things right.  So, my shift is on, baby.  I am pulling my head out of my "you know where" and trying to shut my mouth and just live. 

I am going to slow down and love my family more, my patients more and count my blessings more.  The blessings will include the house, the flush toilet and the clean drinking water.  I will also count the blessings of time...to help a brother out, to sign up for the rescue mission on a regular basis and to even start taking better care of the animals...

The fire came close but didn't get us.  We can see from the kitchen window, the line of slurry that protected our house and our stuff.  For that I feel very lucky and want to respond in some way.  Haven't figured that out yet. 

Looking out the window, the snow is beginning to fall.  That fire ain't gonna stand a chance.  Talk about no control...80 yesterday and snow today.    

We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,

1 comment:

Ms. Moon said...

Here's what I get from this- if we have ENOUGH (and all of us do, for sure), it is our job to appreciate that fact and to not spend our days trying to acquire more of what we don't need but to spend them taking joy in the ones we love and in what we have.
When I was a young hippie, I lived without running water in a little old cabin and yes, I did spend a lot of time laying around with my baby.
I would not give up that experience for anything. It has made me grateful every time (every time!) I turn on a tap and clean water comes out. It taught me that there is nothing better in this world than laying around with babies.
Which I still get to do, now that I have grandbabies.
I love you, Terry. And I love Jim, too. You surely chose right there.