I spend my days with my hands in the dirt. Its a lovely job; taking root in the black grittiness of the Amazonian soil. Something about it fills me up, and that fullness bubbles up and out of me in big mango fiber filled smiles. It pours itself out to the tune of Graceland. It settles like dust over my bones after a long day; stirs with the beginning of a storm.
It is officially time to admit to everyone back home— every one sending me rainy day letters, everyone keeping me in their prayers— that I am not really struggling. In fact, I am content. I am wildly content. I am surrounded by nature and family, stuffed with lovingly made bowls of rice, led by the hand through tough times and given the freedom to navigate the rest for myself. I get to climb trees, to eat with my elbows on the table, to have a younger sister. I am never 50 feet away from a fruit tree nor a 15 minute walk from a river. I have tasted the sweet simplicity of life here and as much as I swish it around in my mouth in search of questions and hardships and ultimately truth, only one has emerged. Simple and sure as a breeze, (the sturdiest thing born out of thin air) my truth brushes against me without regard to my muddled logic or furrowed browed beliefs. It just is, and it just is this; I am really happy. I don’t want to leave.
It is perhaps because of this happiness that I’ve wandered so casually into dangerous territory. Without looking to the right or the left, I entered, with utter nonchalance and a mango in hand, into a war zone. Now I’ve awoken to a no man’s land, a part of my heart caught in the crossfires of two battling beliefs. In one camp, the overarching opinion is that a human life is made for exactly this type of soul filling, love spreading, mind bending and good eating that I have found here in Fatima. In the other, the fires are stoked by all that is broken in the world, and the drums beat with urgency to right all that is wrong, to heal all that is hurting. I have a foot in both camps.
So: is the challenge of the human soul to help save the world or just live in it? And can one actually hope to save the world if they don’t know how to enjoy its infinite and timely mysteries? Is it possible that the world savers and revolutionaries lack the human-ness, the understanding, and the sense of humour to carry out anything worthwhile? Isn’t that how communism went sour? On the other hand, how could one given so much opportunity
just surrender to the mystery, devote themselves to laughter and dancing and hard work, indulge in such privilege hoarding, and maintain any sort of sincerity in their soul?
I have an idea of where I stand now, and it is somewhere in between. I essentially believe in both wholeheartedly. Either that means I’m a double traitor in my own heart, or I’m one step closer to peace. I like to think of it as the latter.
Its the same old story; the world is just so big and complex and worth honouring that one truth can stand in direct contradiction with another.