I have resurrected a writing project that’s been on the shelf for a couple of years. In one of those weird-cool-coincidental encounters, it has become a hot topic in my life again. The working title is: Poco a Poco: Cambiamos el Mundo… translated Little by Little: We Change the World… 57 Ways to Live in Solidarity. It’s about what I learned in Ecuador and Peru and why it’s important that we figure out how to be one human family.
It all started with my application to Catholic Relief Services for the Called to Witness program… an immersion experience for youth ministry professionals to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching and justice issues in other countries. I chose to pursue this particular immersion because CRS wanted to focus heavily on immigration and fair trade commerce. For some reason, those two issues are at the top of my list as well. After sending a book-length application packet and a couple of phone interviews, they picked me. What a gift!
So I was 1 of 10 that traveled around Ecuador to meet people and have my eyes opened. What actually happened was that my heart broke and my head exploded.
About three months later I had the opportunity to go to Peru… which turned out to be an extension of my learning in Ecuador. My heart was broken in Ecuador but it was ripped to shreds in Peru. This time with a different group of ministry friends, we worked in Chimbote at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish to rebuild and repair houses in the poorest section of the city. Profound experiences have forever changed me.
As I’ve been rereading/reliving/reviewing the journals/momentos/photos in connection with this writing project, I find my heart is hurting again like it did then. I successfully squashed it all deep down inside when I came back from Peru and had to re-enter my everyday life. Now the cat’s out of the bag again… Pandora’s box has been reopened. What am I responsible for now that I know what I know… now that I’ve seen what I’ve seen? What are you calling me to, God?
I received an unexpected package early this morning… it had been sitting outside my front door overnight. Inside was this drum and a note… a reminder that sometimes it’s good to have your heart broken and your head exploded. It makes you more real. To the one who sent it… we are reconciled.
And as I have wandered through all that this writing project will ask of me again, I came across this small handwritten slip of paper from a group of teenagers in Ecuador…
Little by little we change the world.