My boots are covered in dirt, grit, and dust. My gloves are retired with honor, bearing the earned badge of torn stitches and block-worn holes. My shoulder tops and finger tips bear witness to the contact of hundreds of cinder blocks. At the moment of my reflection I notice the mortar that lines the inside of my wedding band.
This week has brought a series of firsts: driving in unbridled Guat traffic, slicing a cinder block with only a trowel, carrying bags of cement cross-country, causing the laughter of children with various animal sounds (ok, that one is not so new), wearing pajamas in a black-market, forming rebar by hand, sampling more new foods than I’ve encountered in all my previous days…simply enjoying a culture.
A good deal of my time has been spent with my bottom in the air and my head in a trench. I’m not sure if it’s due to my small stature, my willingness to get crazy dirty, or my claim to a tiny bit of experience, but for whatever reason, I became the trench guy.
In the trench there is no wind, but the sunlight bears down hard. The air smells like earth and dampness. The task at hand becomes the universe. The blood rushes to your head and your lunch rises to your throat. The wires and mud and cinder become eternal and the task can seem daunting.
And then the sound of a rooster breaks into the chamber and I rise to the sound of my spine unfolding. The breeze crosses my face carrying the aroma of fresh wood-fired tortillas. My eyes follow the breeze through the palms and I look upward. Even though I have gazed at this for a week, I am still arrested in simple awe as I see the city nestled into the valley below and I slowly turn my sun-burnt head to the panorama of mountain-tops that disappear into the clouds.
I hear the thunder roll as it seems to non-stop and then my attention is drawn back to the earth around me as I hear approaching footsteps. I see the gaze of the men and women I am working beside and suddenly realize that the barrier of languages has evaporated along with the morning dew.
We have somehow formed a deep familiarity. We have found a communication clearer than words. Without words we are free to engage directly with our souls. I suddenly realize the presence of this moment.
I want to capture this moment so that I can feel it whenever I want. It warms my being like the sun that rests easily on my back. I am stunned to find how connected I am and am overwhelmed with the emotion that rolls over me when I think of leaving.
I know I will be back. We are always changed by our experiences. I am thankful that I have this moment to recognize the shift