practicing deep breathing seems to be the best thing to do right now. maybe the only thing to do. as terrifying as it is, i am now having to face the truth that my time here is quickly coming to an end. very quickly. and i don’t usually mind CHANGE, but this might be the biggest life change i have ever faced, more so even than moving to peru will be the transition of returning to the states—the definition of home is definitely a fluid concept.
i would like to be selfish and think of myself as the only one feeling the melancholy shift of life, but LIFE has once again left me completely humbled, as so often it does. my transition feels tiny compared with some of the things going on here. my tinyness comes from the horribly tragic death of fiorella, my enamorado anthony’s little sister. in addition to feeling the pain of losing the life i have created here, my own transition has been mixed with the pain and mourning with anthony and his family. it has been the most humble reminder i have ever experienced of the fragility of life. it is indeed a very fragile line between life and death, or maybe not even a line at all, but just one simple BREATH that separates the two.
i continue with the same work in SERVICIOS A DOMICILIO MADELEINE, the program i created back in october for patients with chronic health care need in their homes. it has been such a beautiful learning experience and i will miss my patients and their wacky families so much. although julie and i were fearing the end of the program with the end of our contracts, marcelle and lisa (two other missionaries) have decided to take over in august! anyone who has ever created anything, whether it be a work project, piece of art, or child, knows the joy the i feel at being able to continue with MADELEINE and see the program grow and change.
as far as my work at the parrish, i am still involved in several groups. ENGLISH CLASSES continue as normal and it looks like the program will also continue with paul and roberto, two of our peruvian students who also teach. i love my students, but one of the hardest transitions will be leaving my group of elderly, PROGRAMA ADULTO MAYOR—a group i have worked with and led for over a year. i will be leaving them in the hands of the health promotoras from the posta santa clara, and unfortunately will be missing their big week-long celebration in the end of august. i get to plan the events for the celebration and the big party, but won’t be here to actually celebrate with them…and true, they are old, but still maintain that beautiful peruvian spirit, and love to dance!
the most difficult group at the parrish to say goodbye to will be EXODO, the band that i sing with, and my best friends here. i don’t know how many endless hours we’ve spent rehearsing and experimenting with music and goofing around. i've always loved singing at the top of my lungs when i'm home alone, but exodo has made me realize that i need to sing out loud. always. i might just need to do a little auditioning back in the states…
i’ll leave you all with some concluding thoughts from my journal entry today—
and i’ll be leaving chimbote (in only one breath-long month) not with my head held high and my heart light (as some have suggested)—but with my shoulders shrugged, my hands and mind open, and my heart heavy. i tried. i learned—maybe too many things that i protected myself from before. too many universal truths and occurrences that i can’t compartmentalize to peru or chimbote. things of pain and heartbreak and social exclusion, of struggle and corruption and disorder. things that my bubble-wrapped worldview couldn’t have grasped before. but then there are those truths that aren’t quite so skeptical—things of divinity and collective soul and of community and hospitality. I feel like i'm entering a world that is no longer my own. or maybe it never was and i always suspected i needed to get away to realize it. a world of order, convenience, control, of pretty complexions and pretty people wrapped in pretty clothes, an icon for ideal that can be purchased, but only for a certain ignorant few.
breathe deeply. love fully.