I saw myself as a mammoth,
I viewed the globe as small;
I considered myself significant
and stood one hundred feet tall.
I puffed out my chest like a dragon
and carried myself with pride;
I looked down on everyone else;
I swelled and swelled inside.
But then I came upon an obstacle,
thinking it nothing too tough;
I figured I’d leap right over it,
certain I’d done enough.
Instead I came up quite short,
falling flat on my face;
Dazed, I rolled myself over
and lost myself in space.
The world seemed to keep expanding,
but all I did was shrink;
The universe made itself known to me,
causing my heart to sink.
I counted the hail as it pelted my back,
the waves as they breached my hull;
I numbered the flames as they melted my dreams,
the demons that flanked my soul.
I looked up at the heavens,
then gazed around at my wreck;
I inwardly looked at my smallness
and saw that I’m just a speck.
All along I’d been wrong,
seeing myself as a beast;
But now I see that I’m nothing
but a grain of sand on the beach.
I’m nothing but a wisp in the field,
a withering flower, a breath;
I’ve not got a chance in hell
of ever bettering death.
But in looking around at the universe,
in pondering up at the skies;
I noticed there in the heavens
a pair of yearning eyes.
In fear I locked mine with His,
wondering what He would do;
Humbly I bowed even lower,
giving to Him glory due.
What happened next was a whirlwind,
an unexpected lift;
He stamped on my soul a seal and said,
“My child, take this gift.”
What He gave to me was a marker,
a seal that said I was His;
He restored unto me belief;
that’s what a miracle is.
No longer do I fear the galaxies,
no more do I count the rain;
I know that I’m not a behemoth,
but God’s chosen me all the same.
Despite the fact that I’m tiny,
no more than a speck of dust,
He’s called me by name in love,
just as He does each of us.
So don’t err on the side of giants,
nor on the side of the small,
But know there’s a gracious Father
who loves you with His all.
rodeado por niebla,
oscurecido por la sombra del mundo.
pero sin claridad,
sin color, sin resplandor, sin agudeza.
aunque siempre entumecido,
superado por tinieblas aplastantes.
y aún no estoy,
nada más que silueta, que fantasma.
cerrando los ojos,
abriendo, en lugar de ellos, el alma.
viendo allá algo nuevo,
algo diferente, poderoso, y real.
en todo lo que antes no sabía,
en la verdad, en la vida, y en la luz.
liberado de lo oscuro,
rodeado ahora por lo glorioso, lo radiante.
surrounded by fog,
darkened by the shadow of the world.
but without clarity,
without color, without brilliance, without acuteness.
but always numbed,
overcome by crushing darkness.
and yet I am not,
nothing more than a silhouette, than a phantom.
closing my eyes,
opening, instead of them, my soul.
seeing there something new,
something different, powerful, and real.
in everything I never knew before,
in truth, in life, and in light.
freed from the dark,
surrounded now by the glorious, the radiant.
Tonight I embark on the next chapter of my journey. I’m taking an overnight bus from Santiago to Victoria, the city where I’ll spend the next eight months of my life. The past ten days have been spent here at the country’s capital and epicenter. Although I’ve only come to know small pieces of this vast metropolis, I’ve experienced its hustle and its bustle. I’ve endured the weeklong orientation/training, which was pretty arduous but also helpful. It was fun (albeit interesting) living in a rather unpredictable hostel. It was also really cool to meet the other volunteers. Everyone is from somewhere different, and at a different place in life, but we’re all united by this common adventurous spirit. It’s been awesome getting to know some of them, so it will be sad saying goodbye. But, as much as I’ve enjoyed it all, I’m glad to be moving on to a place that’s smaller and quieter.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to find little niches of stillness, both to settle and restore my soul. Whether it’s meant closing my eyes, plugging into music, or sitting outside beneath the trees, I’ve found opportunities to do one of my favorite things: to write. Without a doubt, it’s become therapeutic for me. It allows me to quiet myself, block out the noise, and process all that’s been swirling around in my head and my heart. It’s also the place where I’m reminded how good the Lord has been to me. It’s in those still moments that He speaks to me through the Spirit, refreshing and restoring me. In doing so He reminds me to look and listen for Him elsewhere, and that’s what I love so much about these peaceful moments. They’re not just temporary moments but rather they permeate the rest of my life. I’m sincerely lifted in spirit.
The town I’m headed to, Victoria, is known as the gateway to Andean paradise, which sounds pretty promising, but I’m not sure how much faith I’m willing to stake in Wikipedia. Nonetheless, I’m excited to leave the busy city and head for the countryside. It’s bittersweet that I won’t be able to look out the window on the drive, but at least I can try to sleep, and when I wake up, I’ll be arriving in my new hometown!
My host family is an elderly couple with no kids left in the home, though I imagine there are probably children and grandchildren coming and going. They live five blocks from the school at which I’ll be working. I believe it’s a middle and high school, but I’m not positive. The town has a population of roughly 33,000, which seems like a decent size to me; not too big, not too small. I’m very much looking forward to seeing and exploring the town. I’m also incredibly anxious to meet my host family, my teacher, and my students. Although it’s technically the second chapter in my journey, it’s really the beginning of it all. It’s the reason I came down here, so bring the adventures on!
Beneath Santiago skies there are walls
of ivy, of lattice, of murals, of noise;
wherever you look they’re towering tall,
be them brooding or be them coy.
Deep in the heart of the city they stand,
left and right, ahead and behind;
they corner the eyes of every man,
by happenstance and by design.
Ivy grips their wooded heights,
towering, green, and alive;
then there’s the lattice on stucco white,
patterned, but uninspired.
There are also murals of colorful splash,
graffitied or painted well,
but you mustn’t forget the noises brash
that morning and evening swell.