Monday, January 12, 2015

Painting Our Hearts

The View from Patanatic
The past few days have left me speechless. Each person that I have met has been a flash of awakening, a new color added to my spectrum of life. It is so easy to stay within a comfort zone, the same dreary grey of routine; yet, when a moment snaps you out of it and paints your heart with a passionate red or a joyful yellow, that is when true "living" happens. There has been lots of "living" on this trip. Today, our last day at the clinic, allows us to sense our own change of heart. The way we speak with each patient, work with each other, and approach every situation reflects this.

Today, one of my flashes of color manifests in my friendship with our translator for the home visits that involved checking water filters for those in the community. Our translator, Miley, could speak English just as well as I could speak Spanish- not very well. Although we had this slight language barrier, we both tried very hard to help one another with each language. The day ended with the exchange of our Facebook contacts and her promise to write me as soon as possible. While saying goodbye, she called me her sister and said that God had intervened to have us be friends. Miley, just a year older than me, faces harsh living conditions every day of her life, yet remains a source of light- illuminating God's love and a steadfast hope in humanity. I am blessed to be able to call her my friend.

This encounter is only one of the many experiences that have been a blessing. For those of you who are reading these blogs, please do not hide from such colorful experiences. We have been told that this experience in Guatemala has "ruined our lives" because we can no longer use naivety to excuse our individualistic lifestyle. However, I challenge that way of thinking. I believe that this trip has healed us - cured us of a blind way of thinking. Without seeing the darkness, we cannot truly appreciate the light.

This is what I have learned from the people of Patanatic. With all the darkness that they have been served, they only exuberate the light - their faith in God's will, their love for their family, and their hope for humanity. From this source of light, they encompass an indescribable inner strength that is rooted in wisdom. All of this struggle is simply a search for happiness. I would argue that the most sincere form of happiness comes from those who face both the light and the dark and continue to choose a happiness that splatters an array of colors in everyone's life that they encounter. So as I walked out of the clinic on our last day, I said to myself: Do not ignore the darkness, do not take advantage of the light, and like the Patanatic people - always choose happiness in color.

Caroline Wehby

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