February 14, 2015
BLOG: Love is our only Reality: the Practice of Human Life
Dear friends, as you might have discerned by now, I have been at a stall at the border in El Salvador for over two weeks. I have been most fortunate to find a home here while I wait for money stuff to sort itself out. And I have been doubly fortunate to find another part of my family here among very ordinary extraordinary people. I hope you will enjoy a little more about this part of the story: Journey of the Lotus.
There is a part of me that at 76 is experienced and skilled, I have educated myself and taken all the lessons of my life as wisdom of the heart. Then, there is another part that is naïve and guileless. When I came to this border of Guatemala and El Salvador, the second part of me was the larger. I simply did not know what I did not know.
Even when the very attractive young woman had denied my entry, I did not know from her rapid Spanish that that is what she had said. I am told that until Costa Rica, none of the borders in Central America offer English and so without fluent Spanish, how could I know.
So, I got again into my van parked at the curb. As I sat there, I was approached by Raul who offered to assist me but somehow his eyes and his face said no, no you.
As he and his cronies hovered around, along came George. His face and his eyes were smiling and open. Here was the person who eventually finessed the border crossing saying to that same beautiful young woman, “Would you deny your sweet old grandmother entry?” She stamped my passport and sent me on to customs to sort out my personal property and get a permit to travel with the van.
George and his friend, Alexander, unpacked, sorted and made a list of the entire contents arranged on the curb opposite the customs office and eventually the inspector approved and permitted my entry along with the van. All this work took about 4 hours until it was fairly late in the evening.
I took the boys to the local cantina for a beer and a conversation about the next step. They found me a place to park safely and went home. Next morning they showed up again and we began a search for where traveler’s cheques might be cashed. So far that has proved a fruitless task.
On the drive that second day back to Puente Arce at the border, George drove the van to the alley outside his family home here. He parked me beside the buildings with this: you cannot stay in the town and so I brought you here to be with my family to help you. You are welcome and anything that you need, we will be happy to do for you. Here is your home. You may stay as long as you need to and welcome.
Love is our only reality.
I have been here now for a little over two weeks. The money trip has not yet been entirely solved but real human life thrives.
This family here is the elders, Dad, almost 70 and Mum about 60; two boys somewhere in their 40’s, one is George presently a single man and his brother with a wife and a young boy. There are also two young women, cousins, one with a toddler in her arms. There is a small herd of goats, two roosters with a brood of about 6 hens and two generations of young chicks pecking about, a small dog and a smaller cat. Around and about there are three very large placid brahma cows and a whole bunch of dogs. The river Arce is just over the rise north up the alley where I have been swimming a couple times. Down the alley and right turn is the road to the town always parked hip and shoulder with big trucks making their ways across the border.
The town and all of these people went through the assorted horrors of the Sandanistas and the American ‘occupation’. George, at 16, was sent north to the US because it was not possible for him to learn to be a paid killer for the army. He worked for the University of Riverside for 15 years as a gardener: he did the dirt while the agricultural students watched. Go figure!
The whole village of mixed Indian and Hispanic heritage survived because the approximately 9000 people worked together and helped each other. Food and other resources were shared; everyone benefited from the safety that was made by a certain contingent of the village men who simply out of who they were made the safety for their whole village. There is such honor here among these people that it was all done without any fanfare and without drawing any attention to themselves or any reprisals. The whole village made it.
Perfect love casts out all fear. They were invincible. We are, too, when that love becomes whole in us. This is the reality that makes my trip possible. This is the love that makes space for me here as long as I need it.
So here is this rather older white girl showing up stranded, driving a big old red van with a pile of her stuff in it. First thing is to unload it all because it is a mess in there. George and a cousin did the job.
Then it was about what will you eat? We will bring you what you need. And they did bring avocados, tomatoes, cucumber and I made a meal, soon after putting my head on my pillow and sleeping without any worry or the stress of needing to keep one weather eye open.
What I am saying here is that there are simple ordinary people in your world whose life is made with the love and kindness in their families. Their children are gently and consistently taught to grow up wholesome and kind as their parents. The love that is shines on every face. I am immediately part of the family simply because I am there with them. It is obvious to them that I am also a human needing everything human to make my life.
The border story, my journey, all of that is a remote part when it is obvious that I eat and sleep, smile and joke with them. As we get those other details sorted out, they know I will be going on to Panama and that George will come with me. They say, please stay longer. They also say it is the right thing that I am going on to Ecuador. They will miss me. I will miss them.
Imagine what I have learned, imagine what kind of feeling is seeping daily into my body and healing me of all the stress that has been in my past. Imagine my gratitude not only for the healing but also to recognize that this is a healing. It is never too late to become whole and well, to become what we really are.
These people and I will never again be apart. I will simply be making a larger circle. George and I are deeply connected and right now we conspire to create the project in Ecuador. Our stay in Panama will be a part of that work. It’s all happening in the cauldron of Love and what has been called: continuous high regard.
It is real, my friends. There are nations of people who through the real terrors of war have remained, who have made it through simply because of the love in their hearts.
The heart teaches us moment to moment what to do, how to live.
This is the perfect day to grow up all over