I sense the novelty of my experiences in Peru has worn off. I hate to judge my posts by the response I get, but it’s hard not to. Maybe I need to ban the comments again, 0 is just such a heartbreaking number.
So this will be my last, but dearest to my heart, Peru post. I have enjoyed writing my thoughts and I appreciate all who read this and justify me in sharing.
What most affected me this trip was the way I saw my weaknesses raw and exposed. This was in part because of the maturity and caliber of the people around me; but also in part due to circumstances. I realized how much I lack and felt a tremendous desire to be better. Let me share an example.
The group I traveled to Peru with and spent the majority of my time with was the medical group. The group I had originally intended to be with was the dental group and they were more than willing to take me with them to the clinics each day. I was torn because I had bonded with the medical group and I felt like a part of them. But I knew my skills would be better utilized with the dental group who all knew eachother well, and I felt very out of place. The groups were going separate ways and I had to decide who to go with.
I called Richard from my hotel room in a panic the first morning. I am totally incapable of making decisions and I desperately needed his advice. He said this. “Just remember who you are there for. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Make a choice, make it the right choice and put a smile on your face.”
There is amazing power in the Serenity Prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
I can’t say enough about acceptance. What stuck with me about Richard’s advice was that my time there was so short. I couldn’t waste it away in anxious turmoil about being here or there, with these people or those. I really needed to stop worrying about what I would miss or how I would feel around strangers. I also learned that I couldn’t waste away the days being annoyed with people or irritated with a change of plans. The people around me were my best examples of this and as I observed their flexibility and forgiveness I knew I needed to be more easy going and charitable.
I needed courage. There were moments where I was completely out of my comfort zone but I knew that if I didn’t take action, step forward or set aside my inhibitions I would regret it later.
There is something Richard always says that used to drive me crazy. He says “It is what it is.” I’ve always wanted to shout back at him “It isn’t what it should be!” But that is the whole point. Even though it isn’t what it should be, it is what it is. There are so many things that I desperately want to control or change that are beyond my power. God grant me the wisdom to know the difference.
Being in Peru put me in a situation where I wanted to capitalize on a short opportunity without getting frustrated, hurt or angry. Richard’s phrase came into my mind over and over while I was there and it was great practice for me to set aside the problems where I could not intervene and have a good time in spite of them.
What I want most after returning is to carry that same attitude with me. To let go of the injustice in the world and the faults of others that occupy my thoughts far too frequently.
I want to enjoy all life’s experiences with the same urgency that I felt in Peru, focusing on the positive always and letting go of the negative immediately.