Friday, May 18, 2012

American Awakened: Part Three - A Pause for Mess

I clicked a friend's link to a link to a link and came across this blog entry by Dan King, who is social media editor for, blogger at co-founder and media director for the movement, and social media director for help on now.

Mr. King writes about the Haitian mud left on his shoes from his time spent helping the local people with various needs.

I can't help but remember the shoes I wore while in Honduras. They became quite a mess. I waded up to my knees while dirty water soaked into them, creating that oh-so-unpleasant gushing feeling when walking. They were expensive and waterproof - yes, but only up to the laces. I did not intend on going caving. Or hiking upriver through water and rock.

But the boots did more than go on adventures. The boots walked down dusty, dirty roads and helped me kneel to take pictures for Paramedics for Children. The boots took me around Daniela's school. The boots gave me a solid foundation to stand on when my emotions quietly got the best of me and I felt like I was going to quake so much I might collapse.

I tossed those boots in the wash the first day I returned home. They made a huge clunkety-clunk that drove us mad, but I wanted that old-water, horrible, smelly smell out.

I read Mr. King's blog about his Haitian mud and now I want my Honduran dirt back.

Why did I want to wash it off? What was wrong with it?

Did it not fit in with my clean house? Was I afraid I would taint my hardwood floors? Get grime on my comforter?

I'm a very nostalgic person, always have been. I still have the box of candy a boy gave me in the 4th grade (the box, people, not the candy!). I am very nostalgic about things. I kept all my plane ticket stubs from my trip. I kept audio recordings of our guide talking. I think I might have taken a sugar packet home.

Yet I had to get rid of that dirt.

I am ashamed.

And yes, you can tell me not to be so hard on myself. But I need to be.

I am not beating my head with a hammer, but I am realizing that I could have taken a lot more away from my time in Honduras. I could have felt a lot less comfortable.

Ironically, it is now, back home, where I am feeling the most uncomfortable. I hear this is normal, that it makes sense.

Please, tell me how.

I'm back to my comfortable Americana; I'm back to writing Daniela letters, sending her pictures. I have a second sponsor child I write to as well: Selpia in Indonesia. It's been a year with her. We are just getting to know each other.

I wonder what her mess is like.

I wonder if it is as beautiful and as horrible as the things I saw in Honduras.

I wonder if, should I ever visit her in Indonesia, I will come home and slip off my worn and traveled shoes and opt for my plush couch...

or if I will scrape off some of that stuff and slip it into an envelope.

Terra firma of another world that I am called to love.

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