Skip to main content

In which the Mountains take my breath away and the Ocean makes me cry

Hola mi gente,

I am pleased to announced that we all survived another night bus experience and the 24+ hour drive from the city of Ayacucho. We were there last week doing clinic stuff, learning songs in Quechua, taking cold showers, and making home visits.

Well, something happened to my heart on the way to Ayacucho (start the dramatic music).

There we were driving around the crazy hairsplitting turns in a small bus, six people, some sleeping others looking out the window. We reached the top of the mountains and there were miles and miles  of gently sloping hills and wind carved bluffs with the sky shining in the background. I have never seen such a bright sun as the one that shines on the mountains in Peru. The only thing that thrives in this high bright place are the llamas, and the people who herd them. When we were on the top of the mountain it began to rain, and then the rain turned to snow. Vicinte, our driver/superman, took the turns slowly, a few of us exchanged knowing glances. The roads had become exponentially more dangerous. When the snow was over, the stars came out, some constellations different, others the same. What can I say about the Milky Way that would be new or different? It was magnificent.

The mountains thoroughly stole my heart in that moment. When I meet a man who makes me feel that same heart pull and longing, I will be in trouble.

I have always thought that I would have to choose someday between the mountains and the ocean. It doesn't seem like anyone is fortunate enough to have both of those mysterious presences close enough to home. In that moment, the Milky Way moment, I thought to myself. "That's it, I choose the mountains."

And that week I felt blessed, because we hiked through fields to visit patients, there were cows in the road while we were driving, the Quechua speaking people of the mountains shared their lives with us, and the chakras (farms) were gorgeous and seemed to tell the story of a simple way of life. The altitude took my breath away, it's true, but that was mostly because I was running with my friend Stephanie before the clinic in the morning.

Then, came the second moment. This time we were driving back from Ayacucho. I felt a pang when we left the mountains, but then we came to the ocean. Looking at the waves crashing in on the rocks, and seeing the mist peeling off of the water under the power of the wind, I began to second guess my choice. I mean, the countryside by the ocean has all of the charm of the pictures of Greek islands. There were fishing boats peppering the water, the ocean was a pure aqua blue that changed suddenly to a deep purple, and far off there was the sudden splash of a pelican.

My MMI friends stopped the van and pulled over to the side of the highway so that I could go put my feet in the Pacific Ocean. I may or may not have turned a few cartwheels, done a handstand and a handspring (alright, I did). It was pure joy.

After, with my feet caked in sand, I sat again in my window seat a said a prayer something like this, "God, I don't know if I can choose. The ocean brings me joy and the mountains make me long for something more."

And I felt something like this as the answer,
You don't have to choose. I want to give you more than you ever expected.

I teared up a little then.

This adventure, it's true, has been more than I ever expected, and I am more in love than ever with the God who makes me feel both small and big enough to matter.


  1. Wow! The gift of God...His entire creation available to us. I think anywhere you go, you will see breath taking beauty. He is so good!

  2. Thanks April! Love and miss you guys and the family. Give all the kiddos hugs for me and enjoy the 4th.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Five Friday Feminist Finds and Fun


I've been posting infrequently and erratically, it seems, probably due to the little person who has recently taken over most of our free time.

But, I thought this would be a fun way to get back into the swing of sharing a little bit more on the inter-webs. So here you go.

Whether you would unashamedly describe yourself as a "feminist," or no, whether male or female, East Coast, West Coast, or international community, I hope you enjoy this list of 5 things that have been making my female heart happy and my lady brain think new thoughts.

1. Soy Yo (Bomba Eséreo)

Keep Me Where the Light Is

It’s the Most Wonderful darkest time of the year over here in New England, and we have a new baby which means that when the sun goes down the dance of “will he or wont he sleep tonight?” begins.

The other day as I was walking in the evening (alone for a few precious moments!) the afterglow of the setting sun painted the sky behind dark tree branches with highlights of gold. The words from that John Mayer song filled my head “keep me where the light is” and I thought about how dark this time of year feels and how hard it is to stay in the moments of Light.

Having a new baby is amazing, but also completely disorienting. One moment you feel on the top of the world, like you have figured everything out, and the next moment you are wondering why babies don't come with owners manuals. He started smiling a few weeks ago, and now he smiles at us on purpose and makes cooing sounds when he is happy. I put him under the Christmas tree the other day and it felt like magic… for a moment. A f…

The Kind of Mom I Thought I Would Be

I’m not the kind of mom that I thought I would be.

Truth be told, I didn’t have very many conscious expectations about what kind of mom I would be. It was shockingly easy for us to have a baby. We didn’t have a long wait or struggle before we were pregnant, we just were. Four months after we were married I held a positive pregnancy test in my shaking hands.
Theoretically and practically, we were prepared to be parents. I had worked with children since I was 14. Both my husband and I had friends who with babies and toddlers, both of us wanted a family, and we both had jobs in our fields of study that allowed us the flexibility to change our “five year” plan. We quickly became excited that we were starting our family.
But, somewhere in the flurry of planning, my subterranean mind was working and carving out caves full of ideas. Different visions of myself as a mother had been formed without me thinking through my self-expectations. They came into my mind slowly, in the months followin…