Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Colombia - near and far

Last year, at this time, I was in Colombia with the Youth United for Peace programme of the United Church of Canada. In some ways it feels like it was ages ago. For example, since that time - I have left the realm of what the United Church thinks of as "youth" crossing that funny boundary into what I guess is now "adulthood". Seriously though, it has been a big year, with much movement and questioning - my soul doing some stretching and wiggling as I try to figure out who I want to be, in this next phase of 'me-ness'.

In many ways - this recent cycle has felt like a lap on some sort of journey that is preparing for a launch off into something new. Do you remember that moment in a gym class where they get you to run like mad and then do that hop, skip, launch thing? That's the feeling. I am still somewhere in the run like mad - but I can feel the anticipation of the hop, skip, AHHHH!

Last May, I found out I had been accepted to UPeace and then the next day, hopped a plane to Ontario to meet up with the Youth for Peace folks - and then moved on to Colombia. I came home, worked on presentations, tried to finish up projects at ACGC, tied up some logistics and found myself moving to Costa Rica in a somewhat disorganized manner. Now - a year later, I am in Costa Rica, still feeling somewhat disorganized, thinking about planes again - and reflecting on some of the incredible people I have met in my lifetime.

I was having a conversation recently about some of those people - those moments in your life, where someone says something to you - that perhaps they didn't even mean to be profound - and they grab at your heart in some way and encourage a shift in who you are. Those people who help you to see your potential, your aspirations, your opportunities and responsibilities and also help you find that place within yourself to dig out the courage to try. I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible people in my adventuring, both at 'home' and living away. It's interesting to think about them - and how much I have seen myself change though the time of knowing them. It's amazing to think of the power of interactions - how such short meetings can set small things rolling in your life, whether they are thoughts or actions, that become a giant part of your journey and questions.

Last year, travelling with the Youth for Peace people - I had the chance to journey with some incredible youth and facilitators, engage with leaders who are shifting the world for so many others through their conscious and kind actions for peace, and meet oh so many people who in spite of living in situations which present frequent challenges welcomed us all with incredible hospitality and grace. It was an interesting experience being the oldest "youth". My first experience, internationally - seeing the world with eyes seeking to learn solidarity, I had been the youngest - and having had the opportunity to experience both of those - is something I can't quite express my gratitude for.

A year has passed since I was in Colombia - and the people I met there are still resonating in my heart, and teaching me things each time I reflect on that experience. So - without sufficient words - I send my gratitude out to the world, to all of you who have touched my heart, been a part of my journey. To those who let me rant and rail against the things which bother me, cry when my heart hurts, and to all of you who help me see the things which cause me to laugh, love and dance - with that deep, deep happiness. Thank you.

Here are some of the incredible people of Colombia - who took time to welcome us - and share some of their journey, wound into ours.

Bishop Juan Alberto

Amparo y Jim

Some of the awesome kids at CEPALC

Lilia and some of the other's from Justica y Vida

Small people - who inspire me, the world round.

Peace to you!

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