Monday, August 6, 2007


I turned 20 midair from Miami to San Francisco. The schoolteacher from Napa sitting next to me, coming from a month spent with her daughter studying in Chile and Peru, woke from sleeping to say happy birthday. My family came to meet me at 1 in the morning in San Fran. My eyelids were heavy with sleep but I felt so happy to see them.

Since I've been back, I have heard a lot about this word "processing." Admittedly, it gets a lot of airtime in my speech as well. It's expected that when one gets back from experiences abroad - HIA, Youth Hostel Ministry, and anything involving time in Africa or Latin America - one must spend a significant amount of time "processing."

I guess I'm not sure what that means.

I imagine this handheld blender, and my experience in Honduras is this thick chunky mixture in a bowl. Now I'm supposed to "process" it. Just flip the switch to liquify, plunge the blender in the bowl, and WHIIIRRRR it up a little. Presto! Experience processed. Next!

So I guess haven't started "processing" yet. It's been pretty tranquilo at the Dirty Dog Ranch. That's what we call our home here. Our two cocker spaniels are still digging out of the fence and tearing through the creek, burrs, and mud. I've been peeling peaches from our garden to freeze for the winter, and going running (for the first time in months) in the morning. We went and saw my grandparents, which was really nice. Grandma suffered a stroke while I was away and had to be hospitalized for a while. This weekend she was on her feet again, moving around the house as usual, clucking over her grandkids and laying out her fine dishes as if we were special guests.

Aside from showing my family some pictures, I haven't thought much about Honduras. I'm not going to force this whole "processing" thing. Ít'll take it's natural course, slowly, I suppose, over dinner conversations with my roommates, memories in the middle of the night, and prayer. I don't want it to be the sort of burden that some HNGR interns come back with... the sort of internally swollen cross-cultural experience that is so deep and profound to the individual that it becomes inaccessible to others. I want to be able to share the things I learned and thought, to expose these things to the light of community understanding. I hope they gain richer meaning as a result.

Help me share and ask questions, challenge me, because I still don't understand a lot of what I was exposed to. I also look forward to hearing what you've been learning and becoming. God teach us to listen and give us grace with each other when we don't know the right questions to ask.

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