Dusty Floors

It’s rainy season here in Guate. What does that mean? It means that it gets really hot and dry and then it rains and gets really muddy. Eventually it will level out into daily afternoon showers, like a “normal” rainy season. Today is one of the really hot and dry days.

The heat and rain matter to many of the kids we work with in Young Life Guatemala, and to the volunteer leaders who serve with us. Living on a dirt floor forces one to pay attention to the weather. The heat means all your stuff is covered in dust and the rain means that you might have some mud to squish through on the way out the front door.

Joel and I were reflecting on how he always knows when a YL meeting was in our apartment – he comes home to dusty footprints on our floors. Our staff and leaders carry the dust from their communities with them and leave an imprint wherever they go. Sometimes it’s noticeable, like on our floors, and sometimes not.

The image of dusty footprints on our wood floors invites my thoughts down two diverging paths:

First, I think of where the dust came from. We are all impacted by our circumstances and carry that impact wherever we go – the good, the bad, the ugly. My friends in YL carry their reality with them into every situation they face – and it’s a hard reality. It’s a reality filled with pain, poverty, hunger, and violence. It’s a reality filled with death. People pick up that mud, that dust and carry it with them. Even those, like my coworkers, who are filled with life and joy are not exempt from the mark it leaves.

Second, I think of how the dust ended up on my floor. We all leave a trail. Wherever we walk, whomever we talk to, we leave a mark. Joel knows when our YL friends have been here because he sees their footprints; I know when they’ve been here because I feel their footprints. I feel challenged, encouraged, loved, and cared for.

One image: dusty footprints on our wood floor. Two diverging paths – the mark that’s left on us and the mark we leave on others. The beauty? The two collide. Take Fito for example – he’s our national director here in Guatemala. Take a walk with Fito through the communities we work in and you’ll see the mark he leaves – a trail of smiling kids, a trail of laughter, a trail of teenagers whose days are brighter because Fito passed by. Fito speaks love and truth into the painful reality of kids’ lives in la zona 3. His love (which, really, is Christ’s love) wipes off a bit of the mud, sweeps up a bit of the dust. It leaves a different kind of mark.

I’ve been listening to a song lately called “Beautiful Things.” It’s probably old as I’m about 1.5 years behind US culture, but it’s truth is captivating for me right now. Talking about a God who breathed life into dry bones (Ezekial 36-38) it says, “you make beautiful things out of dust / you make beautiful things out of us.” That simple truth that the dust, the mud, the pain is not the end of the story invites me to step into the dust – my own, kids’, friends’, with the hope that something beautiful will come.

 

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