June 5, 2011
Appetizer by Sister Confianza:
Last week, following the suggestion of Sister Alegria, I started a new journaling practice. My habit had been to write about what happened during the day and do a personal examen, to see where God was present in my day, give thanks, and ask forgiveness for words and actions that I wasn't proud of. I noticed how self-absorbed my writing was. I have been taught that one should only speak about oneself and not try to tell others' truths, and I have tried to live that out. Unfortunately, I think it backfired. I found that my whole way of living was completely self-centered: I only thought about myself, how things affect me, and how to get my own way. So, my new practice is to notice and write about other people.
Most of the time it's just Sister A. and I at the monastery, quietly doing our stuff. She's the main "other person" in my life; it is rare to have more than one visitor in a week. However, we currently have two sets of neighbors who have been coming over regularly. The young folks from Lauda have brought us milk a few times and sought medical consults for their toddlers. And now a big blended family is caring for Elías' place and they like to come over to join us in worship.
I guess that God is supporting this other-centered plan by sending people to the monastery almost every day in the last week. Unfortunately, some of the visits have involved extra walks up from the creek, aggravating Sister A.'s asthma. We thought you might find interesting the visitor who came by Tuesday.
Main Course by Sister Alegría:
A very upset young man gestures frantically for help, looking in through a window. The first gesture indicates a request for food. I come out right away and serve food (cold beans and toased tortillas--poor fare, but that's what there was). He sits with his head in his hands, maybe gathering his forces or praying.
He ignore the food and gestures more. A murder. I'm rattled enough that I speak in English as I'm trying to put words to his message. But I hear that it is English and revert to Spanish. When I reflect back to him that he had told me he had killed someone, he shakes his head and tries again. He had seen a murder. And as a witness, his life is in danger.
Suddenly he leaps up and runs off. Our friend, Rafa, had come up the path. Rafa had been working near here and the boy passed by without greeting him. Rafa "thought that was strange" so he came over. He recognized him; he is a good boy. When I ask directly, he says that he is also of sound mind. Off he goes to call the boy's brother. "Maybe we'll see each other a little later."
We wak around to the back of the house. No sign of the boy. I announce in a loud voice that the visitor had been Don Rafa, our friend and someone who can be trusted.
Then he shows up again in the porch. More signs, but there is soon speaking. I notice that he is a strikingly handsome guy. A light whiff of alcohol, but not enough to explain anything. Tears flow. The murder was of his brother, 25 years old, Caesar, by four armed men, near here on the road,. There are hints that there is a family feud.
My questions combine my two principle concerns. First, a good treatment for emotional trauma is to talk about it. You know, vomit out the poison before it can do its maximum damage. Second, are there armed murderers combing the area for this kid? Should we be calling the police?
I give him water; he drinks only a little (not consistent with the amount of running he supposedly has done). As he gets more back to normal, contradictions enter the story and there is greater resistance to my questions. He still doesn't know what to do, where to go. I encourage him to stay until he can put together a plan.
Our friend, Omar, comes up the path. He calls out, "I'm Omar," not his usual greeting. The boy runs behind the house again. We talk briefly. Omar takes Rudy, his brother, home. First though, he confirms that their brother, Caesar, is alive and well, living in Copan. Rudy uses drugs. Omar had spent all day searching for him.
The next morning Omar stopped by to give us three quarts of milk, an accent to the profuse thanks he had given us the day before.
No dessert course today.
Dios les bendiga,