Updated: Feb 3
I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to write this blog post because, well, to be honest, it's been too hard. I think I had been feeling so defeated that I couldn't even begin to find the words to articulate what's happened, how I feel, and what now. When I went home for spiritual healing I thought okay, nothing more. I also mistakenly believed nothing more could happen. I have since fallen ill numerous times and lost my grandmother. At every turn of this YASC journey, I've been met with the unexpected. Not all of them have been hard-hitting, but it's been the hard-hitting walls that I've crashed and fallen into that have strengthened me in excellent and wonderful ways. The incident that brought me home has made me more passionate about human rights work, my grandmother's death has brought me closer to my family, and being unwell over and over again has motivated me to reconnect with myself in a different way. I'm learning more and more that maybe it's going to be me who is changed the most by this process. Most importanly, I'm learning that that's okay.
“Learning to walk in the dark is an especially valuable skill in times like these—or maybe I should say remembering how to walk in the dark since people of faith have deep pockets of wisdom about how to live through long nights in the wilderness. We just forgot, most of us, once we got where we were going and the glory days began.”
–Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark, p. 15
Now a wee bit about my grandmother. I've taken a lot of time to reflect on what I've learned from her life with the hopes that it will guide my moving forward into this next chapter. That woman could gracefully pirouette through the chaos and manage to come out the other side with a cheeky smile on her face and a cup of tea in her hand. God, I loved that woman and that woman loved God. It was this, her deep faith, that was her nourishment, allowing her light to shine bright in every room that she danced into. She adored the people she loved and was even better at doing whatever it took to get to that place with the people she didn't, even if it meant a wee glass of sherry afterward. She was a beautiful storm that would leave you in an even more beautiful calm. She taught me that life isn't a minefield that you should learn to walk through. Life is a minefield and you just need to learn how to stop and have a wee jig en route, learning how to balance faith, the art of letting go, and allow time to connect with your inner child.
Since returning to Guatemala, I have moved into a permanent apartment in Antigua and travel into the city about 3-4 times a week. I've also met with the Youth Ministry Committee to start planning for the year ahead and am finalizing a project proposal to apply for grants within the next month. I'm working with Eddie Garcia, who is a priest and expert in human rights, and his wife to design a program and space where human rights can be taught, discussed, and explored. We hope to transform the building connected to the church into a human rights hub to equip youth and those who will support their work with the knowledge, skills, and resources to be advocates for human rights in their community, provide a safe space to discuss human rights without discrimination, and support the collaboration and organization of local NGOs and ecumenical groups to respond to human rights. We hope to have a plan finalized by the end of February and host an information event shortly after. Let the adventure continue and the dancing begin.