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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.


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