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.

13 thoughts on “introspection

  1. What a great post Jo. You really have a positive outlook on things. I admire your desire to improve and continually look inward for changes. I have to say, the pictures of you made me realize how much you look like your beautiful mother!


  2. Richard’s advice sounds very familiar to Elder Wirthin, “Come what may and love it.” Great job, Jo! Your trip sounds amazing, your pictures are fantastic and your gratitude and positive attitude shows through all your posts.


  3. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I have listened to Gordon tell me that our whole married life, with the same feelings that you articulated so well, Jo. “It isn’t what it should be!”. The serenity prayer is my favorite and one that i go by daily. I have come to realize that it truly is what it is. What am I going to do with it is the question. Great post, Jo. I have enjoyed hearing about Peru and seeing the pictures, but I have appreciated you sharing your learning experiences the most and exposing your inner self.


  4. As I was reading I was thinking the same thing mentioned by Brit. “Come what may and love it”. I love that quote. Thanks for sharing all your experiences and pictures.


  5. I too, have enjoyed reading all about your experiences. What a great opportunity not only to help others, but to grow yourself! Don’t take your comments away…’s that blasted Google Reader, I swear….


  6. This whole trip sounds like it has been life-changing for you Jo. I’m so glad that you have shared such personal learning experiences here. Even though I didn’t go and probably never will travel to Peru, I feel a tiny bit changed too by reading your thoughts and viewing all your photos. The novelty hasn’t worn off. If you have more to share I would love to hear it!


  7. Reading through your experiences reminds me of an LDS mission. You did not go for 18 months and are not teaching scripture but you gave of yourself when it was not required. You were out of your comfort zone; you shared the gospel by helping people. That is what Christ did when he was on the earth. You learned to love these people and have grown from your experiences with them. Don’t do away with your comments. (We’ve all gotten those heartbreaking 0’s on our posts) Give us a chance to let you know how much your posts affect our lives and give us new perspective.


  8. Jo, I have been well taught! Sometimes we wonder if the things we do on a day to day basis make a difference. Well, you have struck my heart. Thanks for your beautiful writing, your raw feelings, your humility, and for making a difference in people’s lives. In Peru and in lil ‘ol Boise Idaho!


  9. Jo, once again you amaze me. You are such a thinker and you use that for so much good! You inspire me to do more than my mundane housework!!Thanks for sharing all these experiences, and don’t do away with comments!! I’ve been too busy to read blogs lately or I would have commented 🙂


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