I have been waiting for the perfect words to come. Ready to welcome them, with open arms, a pen to meet paper, an attempt to portray every emotion felt within the past week or so. The time hasn’t come and even as I am typing now, it doesn’t seem like that “perfect time” to write. Yet, there is a fear that life and the routine will get the best of me. That the words, the emotions felt- will all retreat before they are ever written, that they will soon fade from my memory.
Even now, although days have fallen in between my sweet time in the Baja- tears are falling because it feels as though I just left, moments ago. It was a short trip with a clustered few of people, most of whom were experiencing my home for the very first time.
I actually set out to be open to putting myself out there, reckoning with my shyness for once, rather than keeping hidden from all, but the children. It wasn’t easy, but a lot of this trip was a challenge for me. I was placed in a position where my language skills were needed, even with all of the mistakes.
I taught the children’s class every night, and Beatriz made sure I knew that she was there to help, if need be. Although deep down, I knew that I needed to try it, by myself. So the children and I embarked on the journey with Daniel and the lion’s den. . . A few mishaps along the way, but all in all, the verse was whispered and shouted, laughter and joy were evident in their twinkling eyes, surely at my mistakes, but that was okay. To be with them, was enough. Between teaching the children’s class and tarring roofs the days seem to have passed too swiftly, only to be rudely awakened to our last full day, Sunday.
Church was held and benevolence runs were soon after, another challenge awaited me. I went with Mark, Beatriz and company, I was the only one in my group with the ability to translate.. Beatriz encouraged me every step of the way and twice we were both left to falling into a heap of tears at the plight of the women we were visiting. It was though I was bearing Beatriz’ pain and she was bearing that of the women we were visiting. I can’t begin to even describe what that felt like. Nor what it meant, to sure, struggle with translating the prayers and stories, but to be able to understand nearly everything they said and to feel, truly feel their pain.
All of my dear boys and sweet Aurelia were noticeably distant from the church the entire time we were there, yet thankfully Saturday night, the Lord opened the door for me to visit their house with Mark, Monte and Misha. I was able to see Jose for the first time in a couple years, and though not much was spoken of worth meaning- it was such a joy to be with all of my dear boys at the same time, to laugh, with an ongoing chattering of Spanglish in the background, such a joy. Jose remembered our “bufanda” joke from years ago and gave me a beautiful scarf and Aurelia graced me with a blanket as we were leaving. Two items, I will forever cherish for the rest of my life.
Monday came swiftly after, and yes, I do realize that my story is mere rambling at this point, lacking any chronology, whatsoever, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. These are moments that mean the world to me, moments that I will never forget. And if no one finds any worth to them, that is okay. I know that in the days ahead, my eyes will fall upon this myriad of thoughts and find hope in them.
Monday was a day of picture taking and time spent relishing the company of beautiful children for a few hours, passing too quickly for me to get my bearings, before I realized it, the inevitable goodbye had come again. We gathered in a circle with some people from the church, held hands and spoke with our Maker, no tears had fallen until I found Aurelia in the circle afterwards, and then I couldn’t hold them in any longer… After a few moments with Aurelia, I turned to say my goodbyes to Beatriz, and she could fully see that I was a complete mess. She reached out to me and took me in her arms, proclaiming how special I was to her and God, how grateful she was for my work, and over and over, “No, te llores, Cristina…” The tears were unrelenting, because after these short couple of days an answer to prayer had taken place before my eyes, the closeness, the friendship, I had desired with Betty was a reality. Just knowing that, probably was cause for a great deal of my tears…
Tuesday we arrived at the airport, my flight was canceled- what should have been an arrival of 10:30 that night into Evansville, became a 10:45 pm departure out of San Diego, with a 10:15 arrival time the next day into Evansville. A good 9.5 hours I had the company of myself and the bakery that sat directly across from me, so with that time I curled up under the rainbow colored blanket Aurelia gave me and listened to the song, “Bones,” by Hillsong…and the tears returned to be my company, because I can say with an utmost certainty this was the hardest goodbye, yet.
I went to the Baja, this time, in need of a great deal of healing, in need of a date-foreseeable in the future of when I could return without fearing goodbyes, in need of close-knit community. I went to the Baja, [my sixteenth trip to Mexico, perhaps?] empty, heartbroken, in dire need to begin to feel again, unbeknown to all those around me.
And what can I say, but God surely knew my need. He knew that this trip would do wonders for my heart, and my dry bones spent, from traveling in the desert. He knew that a reunion with my beautiful people would reawaken what I feared had been lost with time, and that being able to share my story, tell of my passion would leave my heart encouraged to keep up the pursuit-even when it seems that I’ll never get there.
So it is with this trip I have found a little bit more hope, the strength to keep moving towards the day of when the Baja will truly, become my home- even among the constant prodding to reconsider my placement, give it all a little more thought until everything is completely figured out.
I can tell you with a certainty that God has aligned my heart with the people of the Baja for reasons known only to Him. Cause my life was all but planned to be spent close to home, in the shadows of my teaching mother, with a hidden voice- until God reached out and fastened my heart to a place, foreign to everything I knew, and bid me to come and die to everything I had planned . . . And learn to find my voice and begin to speak, to love and live fully in the heart of the Baja, among those I so dearly love.
Your answer is where you find your heart.
“Jesus is wild, amazing, unpredictable. He touches people He shouldn’t; He weeps with whores and dances with poor people. He heals what is broken. And he doesn’t talk an awful lot about doctrine. Instead, He talks a lot about faith-the kind that means you step out into the unknown. You are willing to try to love, to give up some of your power, to let go of control. To trust something. To even begin to believe down in your guts somewhere what God seems to be saying over and over. It’s your willingness to trust something that makes you well. You are enough. It is enough.”
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off, says your God, “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you…” Isaiah 54