From "Creed," by Dom Helder Cámara

I want to believe that the whole world

Is my home, the field I sow,

And that all reap what all have sown.

I will not believe that I can combat oppression out there

If I tolerate injustice here.

I want to believe that what is right

Is the same here and there

And that I will not be free

While even one human being is excluded.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How Could You Do Such a Thing?

"The Lebanon Sentiment" returns. Before going to Beirut for SINARC (I'm in the picture, toward the left, in the first standing row, wearing black and white, if you cared to know), I met with more "why-would-you-ever-want-to-go-to-Lebanon"s than I could count, so many that I genuinely began to doubt the decision.

Now the (longtime) countdown to Nicaragua December 2010 has begun, and the phrase has been recycled. Except this time, I haven't doubted the decision for a second. How could I ever do JVC? Here are some answers for you.

A Culture That Really Counts

As an American I (we) am (are) trapped into the idea that drinkable water is just a faucet away, that I am entitled to my own oversized transportation vehicle complete with air conditioning and a sound system, that money can buy me basically anything worth having. Woops. Not the reality in the rest of the world. I am looking forward to two years in the world's poorest Spanish-speaking country because I know I will emerge with a better realization of that reality, and with a better understanding of the mantra of which I am increasingly convinced: All you need is love.


Despiertate y huelete las rosas. Esto es un pais bilingue. Y para entender la vida "Americana" completamente, hay que saber la lengua creciente: el espanol. Despues de dos anos alla en Nica, no habran dudas de mi fluidez en dos idiomas! (How did I do, Spanish speakers? Other than the falta de accentos?)

Cliche Central America

I am looking forward to what I expect from countries like Guate, Nica, El Salvador, Costa Rica...salsa/merengue dancing, fruits with impossible names, tropical forests, beautifully dark-skinned people and a relentless sun. I'm tired of convenience stores, paved roads, my addiction to my laptop, dressing up for work, etc. I'm ready to replace all that with Heather-ana Jones. Okay, slightly unrealistic image. And don't get me wrong, I am mostly looking forward to the moments I don't expect.

My future

I REALLY like working for CRS this summer. Sure, sorting through file cabinets isn't my idea fun, but the non-profit world and I are a great fit. And I've noticed, a lot of the positions I'd be interested in getting as an "adult" (I'm totally a kid still B.T.Dubs) encourage/require experience abroad working with the poor and marginalized. I get to do what I enjoy AND find job security because of it. Hoyeah.

That Heart-Pressing Raw-Happy Ruined-for-Life Feeling

There's no way to put in into words. I've only tasted this; some people have lived it and I don't know if I'm strong enough to. But I'm going to try. It's the feeling of being stripped to your core by empathy and solidarity, having your heart broken and remade from immortal must be like falling in love. Anyway, I crave that beautiful pain and think this is the way to immerse myself in it. It's so REAL.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, and not, when I had come to die, discover I had not lived.

If all that isn't enough for you, try: the brother and sister JVs I'll be living with. The opportunity to see the world. Not being tied down by anything. Getting letters and packages from close friends. Getting visitors--my parents and aunt are already committed. AND the joy of returning home. Cuz you don't know what you got til it's gone.

So I hope I've answered How-Could-You clearly enough. The answer is, how could I not?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Human Generosity

There's a lot that sucks in this world.
I'm working for Catholic Relief Services this summer, cleaning out their filing cabinets and helping them send people to Ghana and the like (shout out to Aunt Jeanine Boucher-Colbert, one of the three most wonderful people I know, for helping me find this position). I love the people I work with, the tranquil apartment-office, and the location across the street from the world-famous Balboa Park. Today I was looking through some of their literature and came across a Catholics Confront Global Poverty (CCGP) pamphlet which said that in 2001, farmers around the world produced somewhere around 2,800 calories per person per day of food...meaning, enough food for everyone to be obese. And yet 25,000 people die every DAY from hunger. There's no way to process that except to say that there's a lot that sucks in this world.
But wait. This isn't going to be a fire and brimstone post. I've done plenty of those. This post is about the open hearts and beautiful people I've encountered in the last couple months. I cannot name them all, so please don't be disappointed if you did something awesome and you're not here. But to highlight a few:
Father Greg Boyle. If you're feeling generous and want to help keep gangsters and violence off the streets, donate to the agency he started, Homeboy Industries. Get your car virtually washed, or make a small donation. G-Dog forgoes a personal salary to help keep Homeboy open. He's given his entire life to help men that the world consider undeserving of a second thought.
Father Jim Forsen, the Boucher-Colberts, my Granny and Granda Moline, the Camarillo Colberts, and everyone else who is helping to send me to Nicaragua monetarily...I collected $1,100 (almost half the minimum amount to be a Jesuit Volunteer) on a single day of graduation. Dios mio.
the Lowers and the Haikers...these are the two families who are giving me my own room, meals, and comfort for FREE as I travel California working for CRS. I showed up at the Haikers' in San Diego at midnight, perhaps later, and it was the most natural thing in the is your room, here is our/your food, do you need anything. Thank you Suzanne, Linda, Kevin, Molly, Jenny, Chris, Michelle, Jeanine, even Trudy and those silly cats I'm allergic to
CRS...and other organizations that exist for the sole purpose of making the lives of other people better. Who knew human beings were good-hearted enough to give of their time like this?
So okay, a lot sucks in the world. But there's plenty of generosity to go around. I pray we're brave enough to exercise it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birds Flyin' High...Sun in the Sky...Breeze Driftin' on By

So I graduated. Other blog posts for less fantastic times will be about how the next few months are the "deep breath before the [Nicaragua] plunge" or how I'm moving to Portland (yay/yikes) and won't see LMU or my SoCal friends for very much longer. But for now, I have turned in my thesis (though it's not quite "done;" I'll post it when it is), I have stuffed my keyboard/surfboard/clothes/vacuum into my Mazda and moved into my best friend's house for a week, and I am FREE.
I have time. To waste. To look through photos instead of taking them. To make lists of books I want to read. To stare into my friends' eyes and fully and genuinely listen. To BLOG!
There are a few sentiments which describe how I feel, but I think the orgasmic musical explosions of MUSE and Michael Buble do it best in the song both of these videos feature.
Enjoying it while I can...and while sinking in to the Lowers' flannel couch at their pristine Camarillo home, watching The Fellowship of the Ring at 12:22a.m. Ah, it's good being free.