Many times I have wanted to write a post, but I haven’t quite been able to pull one together. The thoughts come, fleeting, and leave my brain by the time I am ready. Or never seem to materialize by the time I am focused. Nevertheless, life goes on. One trip of three this spring/summer already taken…so there’s still plenty of adventure. Someday I’ll get my brain focused to write the exciting things on the horizon as well as the continuing thoughts on travel as spiritual practice. Until then, enjoy this recent capture from a flight out of Seattle.
The intent to write descriptive essays about my month in Costa Rica has been temporarily derailed. Though I may not fully recover the beautiful thoughts and questioning mind of a month ago, I think now I am in a better space to continue on with my plan.
You see, the day after my last post—a spirit-driven morning walk with my camera—I was mugged when returning home at 9pm. Off in my own world, reflecting about a book I was reading and briskly walking to get in out of the cool night, I was trapped by two men, just a block and a half from my house. No stranger to urban life, I was caught unaware of my surroundings, snapped out of my safe-and-almost-home mentality. Perhaps I would have been on alert had I been 10 blocks west or south, where the known drug activity happens. But on my street?
I let them have my bag; they let me run away shaken, but unharmed.
So. The following week I took care of the details when one loses bank card, license, phone, library card, and sense of security. Two weeks have passed. The healing goes on.
Blessed with caring community and friends, I have been on with life. Still submitting resumes…still no leads.
Oh, and we have invaders in the house. Wasps. What might typically be met with some anxiety to have wasps flying high in a bathroom skylight, became magnified into daily terror. My sense of safety was threatened on the street and in my home. Too much to handle. Thankfully, I’m regaining that safety and ready to battle the unwanted insects.
Soon, I hope to be in the state of mind to remember those lovely thoughts and experiences of Costa Rica to continue writing about them. Thankfully, my journal was not stolen, and in my mind in the less than one minute attack, I even thought about my journal…I just may have had enough courage to grab that from my bag, had it been in there.
I wish I were better at writing about events as they happen. Well, I do write, it is just more difficult to transcribe my journal to blog in short spans of time. So this is to introduce what is to come…a series of accounts and reflections about the month I spent in Central America.
In all, I spent 34 days in Central America, mostly in Costa Rica from January 1st to February 4th 2010. I lived among Nicaraguan immigrants in Costa Rica in the San Sebastián district of San José, barrio San Martin.
Now I have spent enough time indoors and the light on this fine February afternoon in Seattle will soon be gone. I promise more entries to follow — especially after tomorrow’s (7 February 2010) presidential election in Costa Rica.
i seem to have patterns of writing and dormancy for this blog. most of my energy has been focused on another blog—a project worthy of such effort. depression has left and i am alive and in wonder. i’ve been running a lot, and slowly emerging from the fog. perhaps when the marathon extravaganza is over i shall return to writing here, this blog of my spiritual wanderings. until then, find me here, at run megs run, and read why i am running two marathons within 7 days of each other. it’s inspiring, i guarantee it.
I need lots of rest—mind, body, soul. I read this poem differently now than I have in previous years. It is from a book of poems given to me seven years ago. The “journey” spoken of is the journey to the cross through the season of lent. At a time when foundations have been shaken, my relations with self and others out of sort, this is where I want to be: resting in God…
Come Unto Me
When the journey gets too hard,
when we feel depleted,
when our compassion
turns to complaining,
when our efforts toward
justice and mercy
seem to get us nowhere,
it’s time to remember
the humility part—
that it is God who has made us
and not we ourselves;
that the saving of the world
or even one part of it
is not on our shoulders.
It is then we can come unto him,
and he will give us rest.
With rest we’ll remember
what it is we are about.
— Ann Weems
I am going to write about my travels in India. What you’ll see is a patchwork of stories as told through narration, rumination, and information that may or may not be in chronological order…I haven’t decided yet how to continue. Today’s story is my arrival in India, and first impressions of Delhi.
Saturday 27 December 2008
After two long flights loaded with screaming children and minor incident with two drunk Russians involving a knife, we finally clear customs at Indira Gandhi International Airport. It is nearly midnight. Oh dear God, I think, as I try with all the concentration left in me, I am really looking forward to a warm bed. However tired, I’m alert through adrenaline, and I scan the airport, careful not to lose sight of my friend in the chaos. The air inside the airport is stale and smells musty, a sure combination pollution and the body odor of the thousands who have traveled through its doors. All around me people are sitting, standing, waiting, and carrying luggage. My stiff legs welcome the chance to dodge the piles of suitcases and the crowd of people coming and going.
Reprieve from the dry air from the plane, and stale air of the airport is not found outside in the night air, as I struggle to breathe the choking air through my nose. A slight burning sensation fills my lungs and I gasp for air. As we walk to meet my friend’s father, who not surprisingly, stands out amidst the sea of brown faces waiting for their passengers, beloved and stranger. I am in a dreamlike state, nearly in disbelief that I am actually in India. Wait. I’m in India!
I stare at the line of a hundred men of standing against a railing, some holding signs, others staring, seemingly straight through my being. This moment, I think to myself, is something to hold onto. As if in a movie, a distant Indian rhythm dances in my head and my sight turns to slow motion, passing a hundred beautiful faces with curiosity. Even the crowded airport is initially enchanting. Back from the dream, a cacophony of conversations, rumbling engines, and shrill car horns fill my ears. This, I would discover, is the discordant noise emanating from nearly everywhere Delhi.
The reunion with father was quick, as together the three of us strode through the crowds to the car where Francis, the driver, was waiting. Mother, conversation, and tea were waiting to welcome us to the residence in New Delhi.
Without regard to the poor visibility at night, my eyes are drawn out the car window to the world outside. On the road at midnight, and still there were cars and trucks crowding the road as we pass shadowy buildings. It became evident, almost immediately, that honking in India is not merely reserved in defense or anger, as it most often is in the US, it is a signal (replacing the turn signal blinker) and used liberally. Trucks are colorfully painted, and on the back have “Horn Please” written in English. And the trucks have the right of way. The rule of the road is, “might is right”.
At some point, midnight passes and it is after 1:00am on the 28th. I note in my head that back home, 13.5 hours behind and a world away, it is only noon on the 27th. It is 3am when my head finally hits the pillow—after a warm welcome at the house in New Delhi with my friend’s parents who served us tea, cookies, and generously handed out presents. I quickly fall into a comfortable, yet brief sleep. The last streaming thought before sleep was again, ” Wait. I’m in India!”