Friday, August 7, 2009

what i learned from the orphan

As I stood in the humid, sweltering heat of Central America, I watched my Grandmother wipe tears from the man’s face. He was hunched over, no more than 5’3” or 4” with hands gnarled from age and hard work. Despite the early hour, he was pungent with alcohol. Growing up as an orphan

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,
and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)

In that moment, I could see God working through my Grandmother. As she kissed the man’s cheek “adios”, a bittersweet contentment fell over me. I did not want to expose myself to the apparent trials of this man, and yet I could not will myself to leave. I was immersed in the moment unlike any other time in my life that I can recall. Next to the cornfields in Guatemala with sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes, clothes sticking to me like a second skin, I learned what was to be the theme of my trip, and hopefully my life—be present.