Knowing Less Every Day

10/01/07

Regresé a mi casa más viejo
después de recorrer el mundo.
No le pregunto a nadie nada.
Pero sé cada día menos.

I returned home much older
after crossing the world.
Now I question nobody.
But I know less every day.
-Pablo Neruda

The objective of an internship with COTN is not only to help meet some of the needs of the national staff, but also to learn and stretch yourself in your understanding of missions and our Lord. This summer I know that I was stretched. Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I’ve been home, I am beginning to see and feel the depth of “knowing less every day,” or rather, realizing how much more there is for me to learn about the world we live in and our brothers and sisters around the globe.

One beautiful moment during my mission experience—a moment in which I realized I knew little, but found a great teacher in one of my students—was when Albelin invited me into his home. His mother greeted me with a kiss. I had a 6-month-old little girl sit in my lap as I watched the family interact and light up at being able to show me their diplomas from Bible school. I was interviewing Albelin, an 18-year-old student from Los Robles, who has the brightest smile I’ve ever seen. As we talked about the hard times in his life and his dreams, he said something very profound that is continuing to work in my heart: He said he and his family were happy and content. This is a big statement in light of the shack we were sitting in. I asked him about how the poverty affected this attitude. He responded that not having the money for basic medical care and daily meals was difficult, but that they didn’t have to worry about poverty. His reason was that Christ bears every pain on the cross, including his family’s poverty, and it was not his place to try to carry it anymore.

Too often I deceive myself by thinking I understand a situation and jump to a pseudo empathy for another too quickly. How could I assume that the transitory poverty would damper my friend’s spirit? Yes, I feel the call and desire to bring justice to the batey [village community] and help improve their situation, but what a sweet reminder that God is even bigger than anything I or anyone else can do for them. He is their true Refuge and Provider. Lord, help us all to live in light of the cross and continue with a faith as great as Albelin’s.

It’s true, I’ve learned a lot about the Dominicanos, about my God, and about myself. But I also delight in this uncertainty, this realization of unknowing. In making my prideful understanding and myself smaller, I hope that His presence and glory truly will be magnified. Dios les bendiga mucho. (God bless you much.)