Saturday, December 06, 2008

Grace and Mercy

I just had a wonderful lunch with two young women who are from Central America. One is Nicaraguan and has studied law, and the other is from El Salvador and is a doctor. They came over to my apartment and we made rice, beans, plantains, and a salad of cabbage, cucumber and tomato with key lime juice and salt. The food, and the Spanish we spoke, were Central American. It was lovely to hear them say "FĂ­jate que..." and "vos." We danced in my studio apartment to Nicaraguan marimba music and I sent them home with lots of leftovers. We talked about living in a foreign country, and we praised and criticized the United States and Nicaragua. They thought Chacocente was a great project for its attempt to help people become independent, instead of giving them charity. It was a wonderful conversation about religion, architecture, race, poverty, culture, homeplace, Spanish grammar, stress, and family. I am so grateful. Sometimes I feel so alienated from my experience in Central America, and from the person I was while I lived there. Talking with them helped me feel more reconciliation between my two selves. When they left, I felt I was the precious participant in grace and mercy, which seem so often to arrive unexpectedly. Aleluia.

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