I'm sick. Nothing too bothersome. Just a good case of the flu. I guess you could say getting sick is an occupational hazard. We helped with an outreach clinic high in the mountains, where most of the children seen in the clinic had a similar set of symptoms. And, well - I'm sick.
I've been resting at the rectory where Father Alex lives in Alto Cayma. It's a very peaceful place. The sort of place that gets you thinking.
Last night Father Alex and I got to talking. We talked of the world. We talked of our collective work. We talked about a lot of things. At some point he said to me, "there is such a tremendous opportunity for collective change. Real change in the world. Change that will bring all of humanity closer together. But that change will not happen until we view ourselves as being in the world, and not of the world."
The "in the world, and not of the world" phrase is not new to me. It's a Biblical reference. However, I've always struggled with the passage. It feels simultaneously like a call to live "above" the fray - and an absolution to the true work of helping create solutions to the many challenges that are front-and-center in the world today.
So I asked Father Alex to explain what he meant. He told me, "[the world today] is so focused on money, power, title, and prestige - that people forget about one another. They forget about the connection we all have. They forget about loving one another above all else." He stopped for a moment in our conversation and prefaced his next statement with, "this is going to sound a bit strange coming from a Priest - but I really think we have lost sight to that fact that God is nothing more than love. And when we share our love for one another - we are sharing God."
He went on to talk about the idea of being in service to one another and in deep committed relationship with one another. He told me he worries "stuff" (material possessions) has taken the place of true connections. He said, "being in the world does not mean we live a life focused on some ethereal future - but we commit to a life in service to one another and in a deep commitment to our collective love for one another."
We ended our conversation close to 10 at night, and Alex said to me, “look Wayne, don't get so caught up in the doing part of your life. There is plenty to do. Remember, being in this world and knowing, truly knowing there is a bigger force, whatever you want to call it – God or Love, whatever - being in the world means you are not stuck in the parts of this life that fail to exalt the love we have for another. Live a life as a reflection of love – and everything will take care of itself.” He finished by saying – “And have fun. You can see a truly holy person by the joy they bring to the world. Please don’t forget to have fun.”
I got sick this week – and I have a sense that it was because I needed some deeper healing.
This is one amazing journey. Thanks for all of the support.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.