Monday, June 15, 2009

ugly beautiful possibility

During these past few days I've been thinking about why this goodbye is difficult. Colombia is ugly beautiful. Beautiful ugly. Both at once and sometimes neither one more than the other. I have been frustrated and angry and hurt here. But I have been full of joy and peace here. I have continued to learn contentment and pursue the gift of just being present.

I have grown up in this country. Our first months here were questions and hope. There was doubt and fear and the sense that this life we'd chosen: it was terrifying and perfect. Terrifying because we'd taken a leap and left comfort and expectation in Wisconsin. And perfect for those same reasons. We needed that leap.

"I could have carved a nice rut," Justin told me once, of our jobs and life in Wisconsin.

But we weren't made to carve ruts. So we came to Colombia. And we just didn't know what would happen next. We didn't know that we'd meet people who would show us patience and how to live more fully one day after another. We didn't know the things we'd be able to do: navigate the language, take a bus to another town, hike to a coffee plantation, run with the buses, bike trails in the foothills of the Andes, rest in a hammock, sit in a city square older than our own nation.

We found new confidence here. In our own selves and in each other. I was able to let go a lot of little insecurities and be kind to myself, appreciate my gifts. I started to see a much bigger picture of this world and the ways in which we overlap. I forgave sins mistakes regrets that I'd been unable to free myself from before. I began to heal from a sharp hurt that was buried deep. Justin and I both continued to explore and strengthen our faith. And when I watched my husband grow too, I was amazed. I loved seeing him open here. His enthusiasm was childlike exploration: he built a hummingbird feeder from soda bottles; he bought plants for our apartment and later grew tomatoes and basil in pots outside our front door; he biked further than ever before, came home muddy and beat and happy. For someone who hadn't considered living abroad before hearing my dream of it, he was often the one to jump when I hesitated: speaking imperfect Spanish, but actually speaking it; making our travel plans for weekends and breaks.

And Colombia is where we became mama and papa. We found an even greater love for each other in those fast months that followed Claire's birth.

In two years here, we began to see the possibilities, the shapes our life together might take tomorrow, ten years from tomorrow. And maybe that is what I've fallen in love with, even more than Colombia herself: all our own possibility. Not just waiting to happen but happening now. And that understanding is a very beautiful part of our time here.


Natalie D said...

Adjustments are always so hard for me. I start out going nuts, then get used to something then I cannot turn back. It sounds like a great place, but also sounds like you guys are explorers and adventerous. Youw ill do great as you move on!

DC Running Mama said...

Oh, I just love reading your posts because they are so beautiful. I can totally imagine the poignance that you must feel with each passing day. On to a new adventure. Where you will find yourselfs again.

Angela and David Kidd said...

This is beautiful. Please tell me you are working on a novel or a book of short stories.

Clare said...


jsmarslender said...

Thanks for the compliments to my writing. I am - ahem - hoping to work on a book this next year. We'll see how that goes...