Tuesday, August 14

I forget

Sometimes I forget that I’m not in Kansas anymore.

I try to normalize my life here in Spain, but an unusual event or overlooked occurrence startles me awake. I then see my grave mistake. The issue is safety – physical, emotional and spiritual. These states of being cannot be “normalized” in the world I am living in.

Here are some things that have awakened me from my slumber:

Monday I was hauling heavy cabinets up slippery marble stairs in the new building. I am wearing flip-flops and a new shirt I bought with some Christmas money. Since there is no railing yet in the stairwell, the illegal Romanian workers are smarter than me and stick to the wall as I pass on the outside. One slip and I break myself. I’m wearing nice clothes because I just came from the police station to help fill-out a robbery report for a young Maps worker who had her house broken into. She has trouble leaving the house now because she wants to protect it.

Monday night there was an attempted break-in at our office. The garage alarm went off and the garage door was jammed closed with the light on inside. Young Maps couple that lived on the top floor watched a Spanish cop chamber a round in his pistol before going in. No one was in there.

Came home after a three-hour drive on the Spanish Autopista and watched the news. Saw a story about a young lady named Monica who had been murdered while walking her two dogs in a barrio near here. She was killed by a member of another family that had been feuding with her family. The police had to beat the families off of each other with billy-clubs. Women on both sides were hysterical. Men were pounding the windows of the police vans.

Another story involved a kidnapped 13-year-old girl from a squalid gypsy camp near here. She had been taken to another gypsy shantytown and was to be married to a 15-year-old boy. The gypsies from all areas kept the news crews out but admitted that they had all gotten married when they were 14 and 15 – so "what is the big deal?" One of them had a little girl about 10 or 11 who was only wearing underpants. She started dancing a flamenco for the camera and the older ladies started clapping a beat while shouting “olay!” Great fun! The news crews are here!

I’m holding my breath at police check-points because I’m no longer a legal driver. We spent $1,200 and six weeks trying to set-up a “required” class and exam in English. The school kept changing the dates and the price and then finally cancelled because the English-speaking instructor was in the hospital. This school has a good reputation. Tell this to a cop at a road-block who can impound your car and take you to jail if he wants to.

I heard that Mother Theresa had a long “crisis of faith.” Spain is Disneyland compared to India. Many people have begun to ask questions about her. One missionary I greatly respect opined that she "was never a Christian because she could not feel the presence of God."

I remember a story recently about a young marine who won the Congressional Medal of Honor (if you win this even Generals are required to salute YOU! cool!) But he won it posthumously by doing-the-dive on a grenade and saving his buddies. I think Mother Theresa dived on a spiritual grenade from hell and the explosive burst lasted 50 years. Eventually the emotional shrapnel ripped into her spirit and she suffered a mortal wound in her soul. Who can follow the call without cost?

Maybe this is a secret, but we have an Iranian connection that is waiting to translate the videos we produced of the Path of Jesus into Farsi – to be broadcast into Iranian living-rooms. This is not the dross. This is the gold.