Awh shoot, guys. My mind is scattered. I finally made it to the library, but it wasn’t easy. After remembering more things I had forgotten, I traveled back and forth between the elevator and my room three times (or thrice, for everyone who thinks that word is funny like me). I also just put my headphones in for eleven minutes before realizing I hadn’t put any music on. I even watched “16 & Pregnant” today, but three minutes later my realization stopped my encouragement of the worst show ever created
“Abby, why is your mind so scattered?” you’ll say while sipping some coffee and sheepishly looking back at the TV. Dr. Drew is psychoanalyzing Amber, I bet.
Well, because I am way too excited to hit the road/air tonight (in one hour) and spend a week in Nicaragua, hanging out with kids here and getting to know the men and women in the community.
I couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted to talk about this day and this coming experience. Half wanting to give some sentimental explanation of the trip explaining what we’ll get to do and including a picture of some young, dark eyes that will await me there, half wanting to try to think of some witty way of talking about spending a spring break in a foreign country. Torn, I found myself thinking of no other way to explain my excitement than to compare it to eating a taco.
It’s a rare occasion that I eat a taco. Maybe once or twice I’ll get one at school. They don’t come around here often though and all this “meat is really just pink slime!!” talk can scare a girl. And I almost never get a taco if I’m out to eat. I always get talked out of it by the sexy salad or the chicken reminding me of our good times in the past. But when I do get one, whether in my mama’s kitchen or in some funny Mexican restaurant a weird friend dragged me to, it’s always a freakin party.
Tacos are complex. Maybe that’s why Tuesdays around the world are dedicated to these kiddos. First, you get the spice. Salsa and jalapeños add the heat that’s more than you expect. It makes me sweat a bit, and always sticks with me for longer than I anticipated. But after I feel my face get a little hot and let out a “hooooly cow” I realize I actually love a little flavor. Then, you get the refreshment from crisp lettuce and chilly tomatoes. They act like a good friend to your taste buds, telling them everything’s going to be okay, and they help keep your palette balanced after the heat shakes you awake. Then of course, there’s the meat. Or slime. Whatever. The meat is the substance, after all. I mean taco meat is what transforms weird condiments and small vegetable portions into a staple for restaurants everywhere. It’s spicy, but never too much. It’s unlike any other taste and it mixes perfectly with everything else you’ve piled into a tortilla.
That’s kinda how I’ve been thinking about this opportunity I have, and doing work for Jesus in general. Mission trips or service experiences can get heated for me, as I’m asked to finish work projects that are tiring or have conversations that may be weird or awkward. I mean will I be able to relate to these people? After all, I’m a weirdo and compare mission work to tacos and make collages of Bridget Jones in jail. But when it’s all said and done, the work is finished, the conversations are started, and I take a breath or two, realizing that’s what I needed. The sigh after the jalapeño. And that’s what I love. There is such sweetness and refreshment for the spirit, as well, rooting from meeting new people and loving on them, as you let them love you back and share with you about their life. Their openness being like a cold tomato, if we’re sticking with this long-winded analogy. And then there’s the meat of it. The substance of relationship, the hard work of communicating with other people, the realization that I’m really selfish most of the time. It’s a little spicy, but never more than I can handle. It’s hearty and real and tastes different than anything else.
I’m not really sure what to expect for this trip to Nicaragua, but I am hoping that there’ll be some colored moments of the unknown, refreshment from something new, and substance of knowing this is time well spent. Much like eating a taco.
cool taco pix via here