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Friday, April 1, 2011

Lucas of Bajo Flores 4/01/2011

    April's almost passed and gone. Already I am writing about march. Granted to continuums and lack of faith and belief in time, the things written below are things I am still contemplating and learning. In the "spirit of Easter" this is going to be a reminder.

    Here is a little narrative pulled from march. I was asked to write a narrative for a reflection question on my mid year evaluation for the program I am doing with Mission Year. If you want to support my team and I financially you can do so by clicking here. I looked up narrative in the dictionary. I added which helped me narrow down what I wrote below.

March 2011, Friday night.
Injustice and brokenness.

     These two things seem to be showing themselves more often these days. It hurts. There are two reasons that determine their recent presence. They are becoming more frequent and prominent in my reality or I am becoming less blind to the reality that they are present and exist. The minimal attention I give them brings a good amount of pain. The pain is odd and unidentifiable. I feel so much pain from something that does not seem to have anything to do with me. Maybe it is because it has everything to do with me.
     Like many times before I was walking to get lost in the city. I am sure I was headed to the subway to get away for a bit. I really can't remember exactly, but it doesn't take much to distract my mind. As I was walking down the broken up sidewalk my eyes connected with him again. My eyes rose up and my chin leveled with his as to transmit a reserved nod to warn him rather than greet him in order to leave him with no doubt that I was not in the mood to talk. This is my usual proposal to familiar faces in the street. I've trained myself to allow enough interaction with others to at least alleviate my mind of convictions and feeling bad about myself.

    I quickly realized that I lacked training because he approached me without hesitating. Supposedly my my eyes communicated some type of drawing or compassion. As I anticipated his common run around of asking for money or for food, I began to battle in my head whether I was going to give him a handout or play my "tough love" card so he wouldn't have the means to buy and smoke crack again.

  Lucas is one year younger than me and he did want food. Actually, he wanted ice cream. We went to the ice cream parlor. I spent 8 pesos argentinos and we talked. I listened to him tell me his story. While he did this he greeted the majority of the people passing us by without missing a beat in his stories. Surprisingly to me, I noticed he was receiving smiles and greetings back. During his stories and conversation many things stuck with me. His matted hair. His weathered finger nails. The rancid smell of his pants and his missing teeth. The card board he called his mattress. His common story of a childhood that was blotched with death, sickness, abandonment and deep sorrow.

     Lucas told me to love my Mother while never forgetting the gift of having one. He was never able to meet his. The lady, his adoptive mother, that raised him had died 4 years prior. Lucas also confirmed that people with too much money are not always happy and are probably just as broken as he is. He shared with me his deep sadness over the death of his brother in February and the moments that would not be had with him because of disease and death. He expressed his anger toward cancer. He also shared how he felt worthless and incapable of not being something more than a person living on the street. He pointed out to me that I had shoes. We spoke of injustice. He enlightened me on injustice. His understanding was much more detailed and personal. Dignity. This is what we all desire.

     Two of the girls I live with invited Lucas over for dinner a week later. He gave us a bowl for our house that we moved into last month. He made us laugh. He made us sit in silence. He led us to really contemplate life. He helped me to see and confront brokenness. He showed us how to turn on our oven.