Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. John 21:16-17 (NIV)
I’ve been quiet this week. While all the big machines that moved air and made noises like a jet plane are gone from the house, and I moved back downstairs to our bedroom that is not a bedroom anymore, but a warehouse complete with concrete slab, I’ve been carrying the quiet of my retreat along with me in my heart and mind. Part of that quiet includes the mantra, “It’s just a house, it’s just a house, For Pete’s sake, IT’S JUST A HOUSE!” I remember the mud floored houses of the Guatemalans and how excited they were to have a concrete slab. How blessed I am to have a floor! I remember being sick from drinking the polluted Guatemalan water and think how blessed I am to have clean fresh water coning out of our pipes even though one did leak and saturate the whole house. I think about how little food they have to eat and suddenly, I can live without cabinets in my kitchen, too. After all, I have a table stacked high with food rescued from the water soaked cabinets. I can still cook on a stove sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and be grateful I am not cooking over a fire pit in the backyard. My life, though turned upside down from this time two weeks ago, is still not bad. Not bad? It is amazing compared to the way the rest of the world lives! While we haven’t gotten a check from the insurance company yet, we know that we will be able to replace at least most of what was lost. We have already been shopping and comparing prices. I have my heart set on some beautiful white cabinets with sea foam green counter tops. They may be out of our price range, but I can dream. We found flooring, carpet that will resist pet stains and new baseboard. In time, we will be back to living in luxury. At least compared to the rest of the world’s standards. I participated in a conference call to prepare our next Guatemala team for our trip in March. We have 23 from our church going and of those, only six have been before. How can you prepare people, especially the younger ones, for what they will see and smell? For how their hearts will be completely changed by the people, especially the children, of Guatemala? Yes, I have been whining a lot the last couple of weeks. The noise, the smell, the destruction. But, now that I think about it, I have nothing to complain about. Really. I learned something shocking this week. This month, Guatemala was declared not the country with the highest level of malnutrition in just the Western Hemisphere, but in the world. In the world. 45% of the children there are malnourished. That is more than Haiti, more than Somalia, more than anywhere. My mouth is shut in sorrow. And this time, I don’t cry for me.