Monday, July 20, 2009

Conversations

 

I know many of you just sped right through the photos the other day of my trip to Vieques and our mini ordeal buying tickets. But when it comes to life in Puerto Rico, it is always an adventure. Standing in line there is not an isolated experience, it is a community gathering. Individuals, couples, and whole families stand in line and drag all their paraphernalia for their camping trip through the line as if they have found a place through which they can journey together. People were coming and going with total strangers saving their space in line while verifying information. Then came the conversations. Conversations that included the customary rumors and familiarity: how was the line progressing?, were the tickets almost sold out? or how was the situation up there?, but also information about where they were from, how far they had traveled, that the place was packed the day before, that next time we all need to arrive an hour earlier, if possible buy the tickets on line ahead of time, and why haven't they modernized the system already? They told jokes about the latter saying that for 500 people they had 3 cashiers that didn't know how to count beyond ten. We all laughed but we knew they were mostly trying to expedite their work with outdated machines while keeping their cool. Obviously, it's not easy to help a lot of desperate impatient people trying to negotiate their way into paradise.

In the midst of all this coming and going, there was this man, "vendiendo agua/ selling water." What was curious about him was his hat. A very appropriate hat for his job out in the Caribbean sun that said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Frankly, it was the right message in that chaotic situation and what we all needed to hear. The word metaphor comes to mind when I think of that time and place.

The man's hat was an example also of using the mundane to include the sublime in our lives. Bello! I think this is becoming a theme of mine. How can I do this in my life, too? Perhaps intentional or as a lifestyle? Or both?

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