Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I Love About My Country...

This from Lena:
Periodically, in our ministry, the sponsored children write a note on a given theme to their sponsors, letting them know a little something about who they are, and what their lives are like. It is my special job—which I really love—to translate these little slices of Peruvian school children’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams. I laugh at their honesty, cheer them on in their dreams and hopes for the future….Frequently I am touched by their fervent loyalty to their family--their desires to make a future for their children and provide for their parents.
This time around, they were assigned to write about what they love about their country. Many of them talked of the great diversity of climates here in Peru (the only country with coastal dessert, mountain, and rainforest), their undying pride in Peruvian cuisine (Peruvians are certain that their food is the best in the world—and they may be right!), Machu Picchu, and the Amazon River. Some spoke of the struggle here-how Peru has fought to make progress, and how they long to be a part of that. More than anything, they spoke of how they were simply born here, and their parents were born here, and how that makes it home. The intensity of how they spoke of Peru fascinated me—as though there could be no better place in the world—isn’t that obvious? Pretty similar to my own feelings about the US—if I am honest about it and what goes on in my own heart. I love Peru, and I love God more, but there is a little American flag waver deep down inside me, and she just never goes away.
It made me think about what home is to me. There is something about the place you grew up in—some sort of programming that sticks with you, and the sights and the smells are something you long for the rest of your life. Rich Mullins, in the song, “Here in America,” says, “Nobody tells you, when you get born here, how much you’re going to love it….” It isn’t always so dramatic, what you feel when you miss home. Usually it is something you live with if you are far away, but every now and then, there is a pang, and you know you are not home, and for a little bit, you just really feel the longing for a snowy fir tree, or a green, green rolling hill, or silly things like a rest stop on the highway or a Dr. Pepper.
Why I love my country... Snow. Thunderstorms. Pine trees and brooks and tons of green. Water you can drink from the tap. Memorial Day parades with my dad. Garage sales on Saturday mornings, and my brother-in-law walking in while we are still not quite “presentable.” Ice cream. Stupid pop culture jokes. Soccer games that give us an excuse to sit on lawn chairs with a cup of coffee and talk to the other parents. Picking blueberries in late June. My mom and dad and sisters are there!!!!!!!!! So many good friends….The idea that a person should be given medical care, whether or not they can pay, because they are human beings! (That one is precious!) The general attitude that even if someone has lowly beginnings—and sometimes even because of it—that they deserve a shot at success.
These are just a few things I love about my country, but maybe there is no better reason than the one our sponsored kids gave—that I was born there! And I definitely never knew--"when I got born there"-- how much I would love it.

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