09 septiembre 2004

"There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes."

i was looking for quote like that a little while back. it's from c.s. lewis, and if he writes anything, it's usually worth remembering. i had been writing to a friend this summer while i was in peru... it was my second visit and completely different from the first. i was suprised because the giddyness and sense of utter eternity alteration that i had before was gone... but neither was i disappointed. it was the weirdest sentiment. driving from the airport to the Trujillo's house, it was all known... how to say... familiar like the walk to your mailbox or the view when you wake up each morning. not novel at all. like the whole past year in the united states had been a dream, and here i was, back in reality. then there was the walk up to the house, the greeting, la amada familia... precious mellow wonder. not giddy. if i had been infatuated the year before, this year i loved.
funny: people always talk about going to another country to be missionaries. i go to peru to be missionaried to... such people, those trujillos. on the first night back, we were in the capital city of lima eating dinner. in a lull in the conversation, franklyn looked at me and said, indicating the song that was playing, "listen... did you hear what he just said: 'i'm lost in the shadows/ i can't find the truth...'" the expression on his face, and tone of his voice stayed with me... such sad happiness. because we're NOT lost in the shadows, and we HAVE found the truth.
in Peru the difference is so dramatic. here, the desperate state of a person without Christ is either disguised, ignored, or utterly unacknowledged by them. which makes it that much easier for ME to ignore it. there, it hits you on the head.
earlier that evening, i was about to take a much needed siesta when i passed by my hotel window. not such a dramatic event. but i was glued there for the next hour/ hour and a half... people people people. masses passing by every minute. masses of... souls. never have i ever experienced anything like it. i was used to seeing lots of people in the corridors of my high school, food court of the mall, interstate, etc... but that day, i realized that these creatures, who's heads i usually look over, these beings, have an eternity left to each of them. they have histories and sad presents. a future still undecided. i was in awe; this must have been a bit of what Jesus felt when He wept over Jerusalem. to know almost experientially their pain, lostness, confusion. for the first time in my life, i wanted to street preach. but i am slow of speech and dull of tongue... i had not yet learned what evangelism really looks like. but it was a start. and my imperious, unthinking heart was bruised a little... that day i was introduced to the concept of happiness underlined by pain for the lack of happiness that is reality for so many.