August 18, 2010
Truths from Guatemala: Part 2
3. True community rejoices with one another.
If you drive a couple hours away from Antigua you'll find the most real sense of the word 'community' you have ever seen. Our team stood on the new foundation for a home being built for a widow left with her orpahned grandchildren to care for. Wood and sheet metal began to be unloaded from the truck,and the eager footsteps of children drew close to see what we were doing. An oler woman hurried up to us and pulled me into a fast and strong embrace- the kind that holds you tight with love and reminds your heart of the srength there is to love. She hugged each one of us. Cried to each one of us in deepest gratitude. Pointed up to the skies, thanking God, claiming faith, and thanks for newfound hope in a new home.
When the house was finished, we asked the family to gather so we could welcome them home and bless them. I looked around at the family that stood inside the house with us- their gratitude rendering them speechless. But the woman who had hugged each one of us and wept in dear thanks for the home wasn't there, it was another woman who was the widowed grandmother of the orphans.
The lady we had all met earlier was her neighbour.
I am taken aback by that. To me that neighbour is the perfect illustration of what it really means, and furthermore what it really looks like, to rejoice in the joys of others. How often do we look down the street and look upon the neighbour that got the new porch, the retirment with secure pension, and the nicer car with envy?
I am guilty of the attitude of a skeptic. I was skeptical of how the neighbours of this village widow would feel as they watched their neighbour receive a new home while they still live in walls made of dried out cornhusks and mud? It's like comparing the poor, to the very poor, to the extremely poor- how can you cast such a comparison on abject poverty?
This was probably one of the stories that touched me the most- I thank the neighbour who so genuinely rejoiced with the happiness of her neighbours- and not because her act would be written about, let alone even seen by anyone else. But because she knew what it meant to love as a neighbour should, and to live in community as we are created for.