Fair warning, this has more to do with human nature than Ecuador. But then again, my time in Ecuador has lead me to so many realizations about life in general that I’m not sure it makes much sense to try to differentiate between what Ecuador is teaching me and what life is teaching me. Anyways, here it goes…
In the past four months I’ve been beyond blessed to gain an amazing group of people around me, mostly my Manna brothers and sisters and some cherished people in the community here as well. I’ve been blessed to find an amazing group of people here that makes me want to be a better person every day. My Manna family makes me want to serve people in the community better; my church here is filled with people that love God, and whose passion to serve Him makes me fall more in love with Him every minute. Its been an amazing ride, and every single day I am thankful I have 9 more months here to keep living it.
But I’ve also had a deeper realization of something that we all already know: people can really suck something. Yeah, even the people we love most in this world. Honestly, the more we know people I think the more we see their suckiness and their flaws and the more their flaws can hurt us. We are all broken, so broken. I wish that I could stop being broken and start loving people better, but its human nature. As much as we want to love people perfectly, our brokenness hurts them, just as their brokenness hurts us.I love my community here, but they hurt me sometimes… and I know I hurt them too. We can be super short with eachother, we act out of selfishness and forget how that impacts others. We don’t respect eachother and we don’t support eachother as we need to be supported. Our indescribably beautiful moments of love are peppered with the pain of being unable to love perfectly and painlessly.
I long to love you better and I want you to love me better. You’re worth it and I am too.
There’s a really beautiful love song that I’ve been listening to on repeat for the past few weeks by the Spanish band Capitan Melao, entitled A Piel. Its about giving yourself fully to someone else, showing them all of your emotions and all of who you are. The chorus includes this lovely phrase a flor de piel, one of those magical phrases that only really exists in Spanish.. a beautiful and haunting mystery of translation. It means something like wearing your heart on your sleeve, showing all of who you are and living into that rather than only showing layers of your personality.
A flor de piel we are broken and we are going to hurt eachother, especially those that we love and know deeply. But we are also capable of so much love and so much forgiveness.
In the Bible theres a beautiful story about forgiveness and love that gives me so much hope for being able to love others despite brokeness. One of the disciples asks Jesus how often we should forgive our brothers when they sin against us. “Seven times?” the disciple Peter inquires. No, seventy times seven, Jesus says… and he doesn’t just mean 490 times, but truly as many times as they need forgiveness. They need our forgiveness, just as we need theres.
We are hurt, but we respond with compassion and forgiveness, and that is how we truly love. We see the brokenness and we love regardless, knowing with a bittersweet and beautiful awareness that all those that we love are doing the same for us.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and bredth and height
my soul can reach,
when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning