For a time when I was 19, I lived in an over-polluted, erratically-industrialized, moderately impoverished city in Southeastern China. The afternoon monsoon had swept through and done its typical ravage of the neighborhood. It was hot. It was humid. I was tired from teaching and exhausted by living in close quarters with a group of people who I struggled to love unconditionally. My spirit was dull and my heart pruned from the humidity. I climbed three flights of stairs of the school building to check my email and hopefully read encouraging words of someone oceans away.
When I entered I saw that the windows in the dark antiquated technology center burned oranges and purples previously unseen. I climbed into the window sill awestruck. The pollution, the passing rain, and my desire to escape joined together above the city and created an indescribable moment in time. The sun said its daily farewell in no ordinary way. It was obvious that grace had made something beautiful out of so many ugly things.
In that moment, right before the sun disappeared and took its radiance with it, I knew that God would always be present in my life. I would always struggle to love unconditionally, but the grace of his love would teach me, guide me, and never leave me.
I learned much to early in life that the world is an ugly place. People are embittered. They cry angry tears. They die. This afternoon, I sit in solitude and I feel the grief of my years. I hear the anxieties of my 13 year olds. I am suddenly acutely aware that I have grown a year older. I am a deeper, wiser, stupider person than I was a year ago. I have been grieved. I’ve grieved others. I grieve for the traps and holds into which I see so many fall, no self-exclusions. The load is always too heavy to bear.
But this grief is so beautiful. It has taught me truth. And truth has shown me love.
Y si las cosas van mal
No pierdas nunca tu fe
Despues de la tormenta viene la calma,
Tu ves, detras de esa oscuridad
Siempre hay una claridad,
Esa luz de esperanza que siempre esta
-thievery corporation, ambición eterna, the cosmic game