Sometimes, it takes a volcano

“The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other.”
bell hooks

Three months ago, I was beginning to think about my trip to Guatemala and how to prepare for it. Two months ago I had just returned from Guatemala and knew that my life was uniquely transformed. One month ago I fumbled about in the ramp up of clients that accompanies the beginning of the school year.  Today, I return to writing here, certain that my responsibility is to share the voices of those I meet.

A month ago, a volcano erupted in Guatemala: Volcan de Fuego.  During my trip, I had seen and taken pictures of many volcanos (from afar); Juan Carlos and Andres had assured us that most of them were dormant or inactive.  I felt safe–the volcanos were like the marketplaces: different than what I’d see at home, but common landscape in Guatemala.

I stopped posting here for many reasons, but one of them was I got stuck navigating my schedule change.  Schedule transitions are always rough for me in the beginning before I hit a new stride and this one was taking longer than they usually do.  My days were filled with clients, traffic, appointments, cleaning, rock climbing, not to mention the basics like sleeping and eating.  No time to write. No time to ground in Guatemala. No time to breathe.

Then, I heard about the eruption.

What a reminder of sobre la mesa time–which I hadn’t taken in weeks–and relationship building.  Strands connect me to Juan Carlos, to Andres, to Ever and to the many other people I spoke with and broke bread with; it took a volcano erupting 3000+ miles away to recall me to presence.

Fortunately, Facebook allows “quick” access to people around the world.  Andres and I messaged there and he told me

 “Hello Monica thanks for asking, thanks to God no body was affected by the volcano, you can see from antigua the volcano but it is far enough to not affect the city or Guatemala city but the little towns that are near from that were very affected and family is ok to and all the peolple from IS. yes everybody was worried here because the volcano take us like a surprise and Juan Carlos lives farther from Guatemala City so he is ok to and how are you?”

See, the return home never means (for me) a return to the same. I am transformed by and webbed to new people who call me forward into newness–a newness that is actually a deeper living out of who I am.  That’s too ethereal, I know.   So, tomorrow, I’ll be a bit more clear and offer some concrete examples.  Our stories and the stories of those we encounter shape us.

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