23 on the 23rd / de besinos y estrellas

Yesterday, like dear Ms. Kong, a long bus ride invited space to look better at what hovers at my edges and under the surface. To breathe and allow gratitude and longing to eclipse the sorrow and unfurl where they may.

I am 23. I live in Honduras. I speak Spanish, or daily try to. Somehow I became friends with the brightest and most beautiful and strong women in the world. And a mountain-man, a mountain of a man, wants to share this story. Yes, even with the hardness, this is a good year.


you don´t get your dream

A woman in the iglesia--the wife of the pastor--has recurring breast cancer. Last year, she went through chemo, had a mastectomy, lost her hair. Then they found more spots in the same empty breast. Now, another six rounds of chemo. Spirit much closer to the dry earth roads we walk on.

Does a woman feel like a woman apart from her breasts? Could I accept myself with inverted scars where life should be, or could another love me?

Is being un-hopeful a sin of omission?

We are called to always hope, to persevere, to wish and believe the best where the worst is so much more obvious, where it´s so much less painful to be skeptical and jaded and write off the ones who hurt us.

Hopeful with the former love who continues to disappoint, with the already-left behind students in a class when you 'know' they won´t make it and you´re hard, with a woman who has recurring Stage IV breast cancer, for the broken dreams she and her husband had of children, of creating a family. When you´re 40 and on the verge of a double mastectomy, that doesn´t happen.

And yet YHWH called Abram, called Sarai, pulled wet life out of dry flesh, and I don´t want to be found whispering no, I won´t believe it.

Maybe it is the path of less suffering, but I don´t want to be found hope-less. I want my hands in the dry dust, picking up the bony cracking earth in anguish and believing, believing. Believing G-d heals even cancer. Believing my students will make it, even if they stay in La Venta and work construction for a living, and 'making it' isn´t what my idea of it is anyway. Believing rain will fall, and wash away all this dust on our hands and feet and faces and make our blood run uncongealed again.

Believing that even if nothing is healed and nothing changes and everything is shitty and hard and you get let down over and over again and you hurt the people you care about the most, believing despite all of this that in the end, even if we don´t get our dream, or whatever we think our dream is, all is well and all will be well and all manner of thing shall be well. Believing even the suffering will bring goodness, will change us, and one day we will look back and even the suffering itself will be good.

One line (my first?) of Spanish poetry has woven in my mind...
Escuche la historia de su roto corazon:
So I have heard the story of your broken, beat-up heart.


If you´re a northerner with a free weekend in February, consider attending this.

The Justice Conference is about the nature of justice. Justice as the foundation of human rights. Justice as the expression of equality. Justice as the fabric of freedom. Justice as forgiveness. Justice as reconciliation. Justice as restored relationship between the creator and the created. Justice as the very nature of God.

The Justice Conference is about the location of justice. Justice at work on Monday morning. Justice as driving to the store in the suburbs. Justice as playing soccer on the pavement in the projects. Justice as selling sugar in the slums of Kenya. Justice as brainstorming in the corporate boardroom. Justice as the small decisions made every day. Justice as the shared universal maxim.

The Justice Conference is about the work of justice. Justice as a call. Justice as a commission. Justice as vocation. Justice as worship. Justice as identity. Justice as service. Justice as sacrifice.


on moving south

Hiking today a companion pointed out a rubber tree
and I thought, so this was a reason King Leopold raped the Congo.
Very good resource, he told me, but look at the roots--
this one is only ten or twelve years old, but the roots grow fast,
go anywhere for water. They push through pipes, burst through walls,
destroy things.

I looked down at all the roots,
spreading circumferences I couldn´t see
random roots showing here and there,
roots I´ve never noticed before,
roots connected to trees,
roots under all things and in everything.

Life, I am learning, is roots,
is what you are rooted in, is who you are growing into
is how desperate you are for water.

The adjustments between my Northwest woods and mountain village Honduran life so far are extreme, nearly impossible to articulate, rich as the plantains and beans we daily consume. The strongest and oldest oak roots, I read, are gnarled, twisted, deep, forced to cling to storm-beaten hillsides, made strong by all the earth pours out.

But when I lean over the chasm of myself,
it seems my G-d is dark, and like a web:
a hundred roots, silently drinking.
This is the ferment I grow out of.
More I don´t know.


i am kind of obsessed with this album

I wear a demeanor made of bright pretty things
What she wears, what she wears, what she wears
Birds singing on my shoulder in harmony it seems
How they sing, how they sing, how they sing

Give me nights of solitude, red wine just a glass or two,
Reclined in a hammock on a balmy evening
I'll pretend that it´s no thing that’s skipping my heart when I think of you thinking of me
babe I'm crazy over you

Theres something in the water, something in the water
There’s something in the water, that makes me love you like –

I’ve got halos made of summer, rhythms made of spring
What she wears, what she wears, what she wears
I got crowns of words a woven each one a song to sing
Oh I sing, oh I sing, oh I sing

Give me long days in the sun,
preludes to the nights to come
Previews of the mornings laying in all lazy
give me something fun to do like a life of loving you
kiss me quick now baby I'm still crazy over you