Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Workshops, tomatos, and accepting gifts

This week I have two workshops with catechists. This is always a challenge and usually a delight.

Tuesday, I decided to start the meeting with a different style of prayer. First, I had everyone introduce themselves, telling where they are from. Then, I asked them to go around the circle and pray for the person at their right. I started.

It worked well and they really liked it. They had never done a prayer like that before!  I encouraged them to use it with the children and youth they work with.

Then we did a shortened lectio divina on the Lord’s Prayer. I read it slowly. I encouraged them to focus on the word or phrase that touched them and, if they wanted, to repeat it slowly in silence (and then come back to it during the day.) After about ten minutes I asked them to go around the circle and share the word or phrase.

It was touching.

Today, I had nothing to do in any of the villages and I had to wait for two people to come – only one showed. But it was a productive day - with a beautiful that I almost missed.  

But I spent the morning washing clothes since it was warm and sunny. I also made spaghetti sauce.

Yesterday, Santos from the neighboring village gave me a large bag of tomatoes. I know he was cultivating tomatoes and told him I’d like to buy a few. So what does he do? He gives me about 35 really nice tomatoes. 

Last night I made a plate of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese (made in Honduras), imported olives and olive oil, basil from the pot on my terrace, and a slice of whole wheat bread, made by the Central American/Mexican company Bimbo. Yes, Bimbo is the name of the company!

Today it was spaghetti sauce. That’s tomorrow’s meal after I get back from the catechists‘ workshop in a neighboring village.

Today has been good, though there have been two little frustrations, including the internet! But a gorgeous sunset made up for all that.

Gratitude and patience are the two virtues I need to nurture this Lent.

Gratitude is rather easy since life here is good, the warm weather is beginning, and the views are incredible.

And there’s also the generosity of the people.

Santos would not let me give him any money for the tomatoes.

A few days ago I asked Isaías, a twenty-year old neighbor, if he had any dulce de panela. Since his father’s death last year he’s been doing the sugar cane processing for the family’s sugar cane fields. He sends the sugar to Santa Rosa to be sold.

The other night he and a friend stopped by with the dulce. I asked him how much. He refused to take anything. This is not the first time he has refused money. He helped me with some things around the house and he refused the money I wanted to give him.

It is hard to really accept the generosity of the poor – but a grateful response is really essential to develop a spirituality of service and accompaniment.

I am to here to give – I am here to be with the people. That means receiving and giving, sharing and accepting without thinking of paying back.

That’s often a hard lesson – but critical.



A friend from Ames, Jane Misara, on reading the post, wrote on Facebook: "... it makes a person feel rich when they can share what they have."

I never thought to it that way but I think she is right. Even more, in the moment of sharing they show their "richness".

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