It dawned on me last week that I am not the girl who moved here 10 years ago. I know that sounds silly, so obvious and yet I sat, having this revelation. It was Mother’s Day (Here celebrated May 10th.) The Hope House boys had invited me to attend a program at their school. It was all so familiar to me, all the songs & dances and door prizes; mothers and children laughing. I was surrounded by poverty and yet smiles all around. It felt like old times.
After the presentation, we ate pozole* crowded at the children’s school desk which had been strategically placed at the edge of the school yard, in the little bit of shade that the trees offered. The pozole was not the kind that I have grown accustom to over the years; low-fat with chicken breast. But this was “real pozole”, the kind cooked in a huge pot over an open fire, served with a floating layer of grease on top and identifiable parts of the hog taking center stage in my bowl. It took me back 10 years ago to a time when I thought it strange to eat a bowl of soup with salad greens adorning it.
I ate, enjoying my meal and visiting with women who I have met over the years. Women, whose life’s stories I know and have been a part of…..and I it dawned on me that we have been living here so long that Mexico has now become home.
The “sounds of Mexico” which frightened me 10 years ago, I can now identify without even pulling back the curtain…..the cow bell that clangs as the garbage truck comes down the street, the distant horn of the man in the the yellow truck who sells cheese once a week in our neighborhood, the loud speaker & catchy song of the gas truck announcing it’s arrival. All these sounds surround me daily. Even now, a car is circulating through the streets playing an advertisement for the upcoming election and another offering 3 kilos of Mango for 10 pesos (less than a dollar).
A lot has happened in the last 10 years. Lots of moments…lots of difficult moments.Moments which have molded me, made me stronger. I remember feeling like I had aged 10 years after living on the mission field the first year. I figure if I knew then all that I know now, it would have been even more difficult to, leave my comfort zone & come here. (Thank God for ignorant bliss!)
Mixed in with the difficult moments have also been delightful ones. Moments which have made the others worth it. Moments when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was created to be here. And I am reminded how different I have become.
I am no longer….. the mystic with stars in her eyes, longing to be a missionary………the young mother who made the 6 day drive across country with her husband and her 2 babies, the carefree soul who sold almost everything only to arrive in Mexico without a place to live. I am not…….the girl who ate lentils for a week when money was tight……or who’s fever reached 104 after taking one little bite of a guamuchil. I am no longer afraid of lice, or dirty children or scorpions.
I am not as rash as I used to be, nor as judgmental. I have been tried and stretched, and discouraged beyond belief. There were times when I just thought I would give up………Times when “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” (Psalms 18:4) Times, I wanted to quit, and yet He used those moments in my life to mold me. And through it all, I know that I am and have been exactly where I am supposed to be.
After 10 years it is clear to me…..I am being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) while Abiding UNDER THE SHADOW of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1)
And I want to take this moment to thank each of you for walking this road with me. For praying and listening and sending financial support. I know that without you this life that I live would be much more difficult. But because of you I am able to stand Under His Shadow and wonder what the next 10 years will hold.
By His Grace,
*Pozole: a traditional Mexican soup, originating in Guadalajara. It is made up of chicken and/or pork broth with hominy. Topped with shredded cabbage or lettuce, onions, radishes, lemon and chili. Eaten with tostadas, usually on special occasions, like Christmas.