While I was in high school, I was always so envious of my peers. They seemed so confident in what their calling in life was. They could envision the next thirty years without blinking and eye. I, on the other hand was never able to do that. I only knew, that I didn’t know.
Even after coming to Guatemala, and starting the feeding program with my friends I still felt restless, and unsure. As much as we do not like to write or talk about it, it is stressful here. I didn’t know if I could do it long-term. No matter how much time we spend here, what we wear, how well we speak the language, or how well we know the community, we will always be a little bit different. There is no such thing as “blending in.” To be honest, that can be difficult for various reasons. We have always been strong believers that God will provide. But, in our weak human nature we still worry about money. We still get tired, and overwhelmed, and stressed, and frustrated….. It is hard, even when we want to pretend it is not.
Despite all of that, I can still pinpoint one day, one event specifically that sealed the deal for me. We were at our first location. The room was poorly lit, and to be honest, it was dirty. The chairs were broken. We had next to no money. We lacked volunteers. We had about twenty elderly people coming to eat daily. Our group had started going out into the community more, and visiting the sick. To say I was burnt out that day would have been an understatement.
After everyone was done eating dinner, one man stayed. He was in his seventies, and lived alone. We had taken him to the doctor a few days previous. He was prescribed a cream for his legs as they were bothering him tremendously. He always wore rubber rain boots, never any socks, and his pants were always filled with holes. Because he still went to the field to work, his boots filled with dirty and leaves. Before we could help him put the cream on his legs, we always heated water over the fire, and washed them off.
I sat on the filthy floor, and helped him as best I could. One of the elderly ladies had forgotten something were we were, and came back into the room. I remember she grasped her hands together and drew them toward her face. With a smile that your own grandma would give you she said in her broken Spanish “Chula, te ves hermosa asi” “honey, you look beautiful like that.” I am certain of very few things in this world, but I am certain of one thing, in that moment I was not “beautiful.” I can guarantee I was covered in dirt and grease. The dark circles under my eyes were probably bigger than my eyes themselves. My clothes smelled slightly less than fresh, because it was the rainy season and clothes never fully dry.
I do not believe she called me beautiful for any physical characteristic in that moment. But rather she saw how head over heels in love I was with what I was doing. I remember looking forward to being able to spend that time with him each night. I loved reminding him we cared about him and his wellbeing. I loved sitting on the dry floor, in a humble place, knowing it was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I do not know what all God has in store for me yet. I cannot tell you what my exact “calling” is. But, I do know it is to serve. In whatever form God has for me that day. And that, that is a really beautiful thing.