Palms Up

I’m so excited for you, she exclaims, pulling me into a hug. Grinning, I thank her, my exclamations matching her enthusiasm. Then I pause, shrug, palms up in surrender; I really don’t know what we’ll be doing, I admit, chuckling a little at the excitement and the possibility and the not-knowing.

She leans forward slightly, reminding me of the many times I watched her kneel, step closer, come into the lives of the women and children of Guatemala. Her pale hair, neatly coiffed, swishes as she laughs, shakes her head ever so slightly.

You didn’t have any idea last year either, and that trip was wonderful! She exclaims, her soft hand on my arm once more.

And I nod in agreement, laughing a little.

She’s right. I got on a plane first to Virginia, then Guatemala without the slightest idea what I would be doing there, and spent the first two plane rides learning the names of my teammates, save the fair-haired doctor who connections lead me to the trip in the first place.

Accustomed to learning by observation thanks to all those months spent living in Mexico, I learned Guatemala, learned Xenacoj, by watching, listening. I opened my hands, palms up once more, to the opportunities, tasks, requests, before me. And God was kind to allow what I had, what I did, what I said, to be done for good, to be done well.

I returned from my week in Guatemala emotionally exhausted, worn ragged from the unexpected weight of constant translation, but, as Summer 2013 marched rapidly on, I knew I wouldn’t change it for anything.

And I wanted to go back.

And tomorrow, beginning with an alarm set for 4:21am, I’ll begin all over again. Do I know what I’m doing? No. Do I know who I’m working with? Not everyone. Do I know who I’ll meet? What I’ll learn? How I’ll be challenged? What will break my heart? What will bring me back, all over again?

Not at all.

But God does.

So I check through security, slipping sandals off into the dingy grey bucket, I step down the jetbridge to the waiting plane, I step through customs, out into the Guatemalan air, and open my hands, palms up, ready for what comes next.

Whatever it may be.



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