Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confessions on a Thankful Thursday

A confessional at the main cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua.

Tonight I have several confessions to make.
I confess that I am thankful for the journey I took to Nicaragua.
I am thankful for the ways in which that trip has tripped me up and shaken me to the core.
I am thankful for the many friends that have carried me through this time of upheaval,
that have listened to and read my stories,
and have encouraged me to stay the course of spiritual and emotional transformation that I am on.

A lush courtyard inside a small museum in Granada, Nicaragua.

Tonight I confess that I am thankful for the rain and the flowers, the grass and the trees.
I am thankful for my eyesight and sense of smell, for the ability to travel and take photos.
I am thankful for the fact that Kristiana went with me on this life-shattering trip
and that we can walk through these challenging days of reentry together.

An island home in Lake Nicaragua.

Just a few short miles from Paradise and Xiloa in Nicaragua was this beautiful island paradise.
Actually, there are several islands in the lake that are owned by Nicaraguan millionaires: the owners of the national coffee company, the largest rum company and the largest beer manufacturer in the country.
The part of the house visible in this photo is just a corner of what appeared to be an enormous mansion.
It is a spectacular home that I would love to see the inside of and swim outside of.
And so would Charlie and Paisy and all the other hungry children we met. Just for a few minutes. Just for one meal of their leftovers. Just one.

I confess that there are many times each day when I look at my own house, when I open the refrigerator or the pantry, and wonder how I can continue to live this well when so many have so little. I confess that I berate myself for my frivolous spending. I confess that I wish I didn't know as much as I know right now. I confess that living on an island with the shades closed and the dock secured is appealing; perhaps it is better to not see the needs or feel the pain. Perhaps...

The monkey in this picture had just crossed my lap. Literally put its feet on my thighs in order to cross the boat.

It isn't the monkey on my back; it's the monkey on my lap that I am grateful for tonight.
Nothing hidden or ignored, it's obvious that this trip isn't going to be forgotten or dismissed anytime soon.
Tonight I am grateful for the monkey that crossed my lap, for the children that crawled into my arms, for the bus rides from one village to another, for the heat and humidity and ants and lizards that kept me ever mindful of my presence in a central american nation, for the tears that flowed down my face, and for the cracks that have split my heart into so many pieces.

PS. At the moment, I confess that I am enormously thankful for the beauty of all the people ascending and descending the platform at the Democratic National Convention. Their stories, their sorrows, their hopes, and their dreams for a new direction that this nation can move in. Even Dr. King himself couldn't have imagined that 45 years after his "I have a dream" speech an African-American man would be accepting the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America. No matter which way you vote, no matter what you think of him or his political positions, this is an historic night. Earlier this evening, my brother said that he has been watching this entire convention with tears in his eyes; he is saddened by the fact that our father is not here to witness this momentous event. I suspect that Dad knows what is going on in Denver. And with us, he is applauding Barack Obama's ascent onto that platform tonight and (hopefully) into the highest office of the land in a few months hence.

Let there be hope!


Amy said...


Your photos and thoughts are lovely and touching. It's amazing that such unfathomable wealth and more unfathomable poverty exist so close to each other. I think you haven't seen the last of Paradise.

Re: The Obama speech, I bawled my eyes out. I'm picking up my Obama/Biden yard sign today.

Jena Strong said...

Hope, hope, hope, hope, hope!