Happy Monday! Today was comparatively cooler than it’s been since my arrival in Belize, and I am RELISHING the change! By comparatively, I mean to say that it’s still uncomfortably hot and I continue to sweat like a fiend, but there was actually something akin to a breeze in the air this morning as I walked to the market to buy some fresh watermelon and mango. Drinking my mug of English Breakfast was more enjoyable than usual too, and I’ve been outside on the hammock reading for the last hour in just about perfect evening conditions! It’s deceptively easy to take for granted the vast beauty that surrounds me when I live amid it every day, but days like these are like little reminders from God to look around and be thankful!
One of today’s notable activities was a little trip to the international entry point in PG to renew my passport. I was a tad nervous about this task because Akiesha and Ashley were both given a hard time by the passport control man, who probably was suffering from inferiority issues and wanted to assert his power by making innocent US citizens fear deportment. In any case, I decided to do my best to woo the passport people with my endearing smile, and I was waived through without any problems! I really don’t think my endearing smile did it as much as the man’s interest in getting me away from his desk so he could continue actively doing nothing (seriously, how many people are really going through PG passport control on a daily basis? Two?). When I got back to the office, I managed to convince Noemi, Perlina, and Akiesha that I had been deported for a decent three minutes before I had to crack a smile. I’m now legally in Belize until July 10th, at which point I’ll either have to renew again or cross the border to Guatemala and then return! I am very interested in pursuing option two!
This morning, I felt this compulsion to kneel down and pray, which helped me to begin the day with more peace than usual. In Peru last summer, I had several experiences of walking through Andean villages surrounded by majestic peaks and feeling called to prayer, but I haven’t felt many such impulses here in Belize. I say prayers most every night, but they often turn into sleep, and I think that perhaps morning prayer would be a good habit to get into. There is so much to pray for and to be thankful for here. I think that what inspired me was the wonderful interactions I’ve been able to have with the interns currently here in Belize–Ashley, Coi, Haley, Nikki, and Jamie. They are such vibrant and beautiful human beings, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to encourage them as they courageously serve others in places most people only see in pictures. Every day, I pray to set an example for them, of the spirit of volunteerism and the love upon which that spirit is founded. As I pray to be an effective leader, two sets of wise words have often come to mind, one from Mother Teresa, my hero among heroes, and one from Victor Hugo’s literary classic, Les Miserables. Perhaps they can inspire you as they inspire me…
Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor . . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. – Mother Teresa
To love another person is to see the face of God. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Good stuff, right? If only we could all live as these quotes tell us to each day.
Finally, the reasoning behind this entry’s title. Haley is one of the awesome interns here in Belize, and as I mentioned in my last post, she is legitimately a superhero. This girl has been running every day since she’s arrived here, and inspired by both her dedication and the slightly cooler weather, I decided to go for my first run today! I didn’t go too far–twenty minutes of continuous running along the sea, and then a bit of walking and some intervals, but I definitely returned to the bunkhouse both pooped and pleased! I can’t say whether I’ll make a habit out of this running-in-the-tropics thing…I think I’ll switch to my workout DVDs when they arrive with the padres in a little over a week (Wahoo!), but it felt good to push my body. So thanks, Haley, for your inspiration! And just to continue touting Haley’s awesomeness, she also lent me the book Water for Elephants, which she just finished and which I have halfway devoured in a single evening. I’ve been meaning to read the book for years now, and there’s no better time or place than a cool evening on a porch in Punta Gorda, Belize!
It’s now 9:15 PM, which is way past my Belizean bedtime :-), but I think I may do a bit more reading before calling it quits. Until next time, dear friends!