This past weekend we visited a remote and beautiful location in Guatemala, Laguna Lachua. The lake is 7 hours from the city and situated in a tropical rainforest, the lake is referred to as a “mirror to the heavens.” And it is. It’s a perfect circle that reflects everything around and above it. It is strikingly beautiful, and it’s in the middle of nowhere. No electricity, and we had to carry in our food/supplies for our night there.
Joel, Carrie, and I stayed one night in Coban and celebrated a romantic Valentine’s dinner for three before driving the 3 hours from Coban to Lachua. We hiked in and our first view of the lake was a bit underwhelming. It was cloudy and gray. It was a lake. We have LOADS of those in MI. But, we made our way to camp and found our friends a bit worried because Sue was having a pretty severe allergic reaction and her face was swollen to about twice its normal size. Thankfully, we’d bought allergy meds the night before due to a cat in the hotel so we were able to give her some and the swelling came right down.
Over the course of the afternoon, the clouds blew away and we were left with the stunning beauty of the sun reflecting off this beautiful, turquoise lake. We were truly blown away and sat at the lake’s edge most of the afternoon simply admiring its beauty.
When the sun went down and the camp went pitch black, we made a fire, ate dinner and lots of s’mores, and told stories. Then, we went down to the lake to see the most impressive splash of stars I have ever seen.
Monday we woke up early, enjoyed the sun coming up on the lake, took one last swim, and jumped in our cars to head back to the City.
About 2 hours into the drive, Sue called to say that her car stopped working and she thought it ran out of gas. We found them, then went in our car to find gas (we bought a gallon at a tiny tiendita in the middle of nowhere). When we put the gas in, her car turned over but immediately began spewing gas in all direction. She turned it off and Joel called a tow truck. 2 hours until they could get to us.
While we were waiting, I started talking to a young mom who lived in the house where we were stranded. Her name was Claudia. She shared a lot of her heart, her pain with me. She’s trapped in poverty, has no opportunities, didn’t finish school because her family didn’t have money, and hold on to hope that if she could make it to the US all would be well. Her sweet son had webbed fingers and a lame arm and they couldn’t afford the simple procedures to fix either problem. She shared about the massacres that had occurred recently in nearby villages due to protests over a hydroelectricity plant. 3 adults and 4 kids had been killed in one community. Her stark honesty about her poverty and the glimmer of hope in her eyes when she spoke of someday finding a job just broke my heart. We talked about husbands and families and church and everything in between.
Then we drove away (well, Sue rode away on the tow truck).
As we drove away, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I was sad for Claudia. I was sad that we could drive away and she was stuck. I was sad that my friend’s car was in bad shape. I was scared because the car had almost lost a tire – things could have been so much worse. Instantly, all the serenity and beauty of the morning was gone.
Our car stopped for dinner in Coban. As we sat at a German coffeehouse eating paninis and drinking Snickerdoodle Lattes (yes, it’s as good as it sounds), a bluegrass version of a childhood classic came on. “He’s got the whole world in his hands, he’s got you and me brother in his hands, he’s got you and me sister in his hands, he’s got the whole world in his hands.”
I needed that.
God had Sue and her carrito in his hands; he has Claudia in his hands; he has my friends in zone 3 in his hands; he has you and me in his hands.
He has the whole world in his hands. That truth is more beautiful than any vista I could stumble upon in Guatemala.