As time wound down and we finished up our time in Canilla, Jess joined us for a few minutes on our last afternoon to share her journey and encourage us toward the life God has for us. She ended her time by quoting her husband, something she has heard him say many times to visitors that come down. “Life in Guatemala is hard but simple and life in the states (or Switzerland where Jess comes from) can be easy but complicated. ” This phase was reflected upon the next evening as well as students began to transition their minds back to the states. Although in our time in Guatemala we never experienced the hard life, we had a glimpse of it as we listened to families that serve their faithfully tell of the journeys that they have had and how God has been working in the Quiche Valley. My heart is for the students to see the reality during their time there and not just have an adventure. To understand and stand with those that are serving. In our world today we often run from hard, but what if that is exactly what God is calling you toward – the hard.
Yes, life in Canilla is simple, removed from the bustle and expectations that come from life in the states. All of the decisions that have to be made when stepping inside of a store or your car or with your families in the states are eliminated because in Canilla there are few options. In Canilla, there is no appealing options for dining out, finding bread or entertainment. Fresh fruits and veggies are available in town on Fridays and so our schedule is set for us when we will shop, what is available and where we will go. Friday afternoon. Or wait till the next week.
This creates simplicity to life to be able to focus on different things and create priorities. But it is also hard, a hard that we did not really grasp in the short time we were there. Hard because we are far from friends, family and familiar. Hard because homeschooling is the reality, cooking food from scratch for every meal is the reality and living in a different culture with different needs and expections and heart language is the reality. Hard because nothing seems to come easy. If you can’t fix it, then there’s a good change it won’t get fixed. And finding the part or tool comes even harder. No Amazon. No postal service. No skilled workers. If you can’t make it, then you will probably do without. Much effort goes into survival. But it’s simple. And simple can be refreshing and necessary and just what we need to be able to prioritize Jesus over busy. Priortize family over worldly demands. To have the eyes to see what God intends for use to see.
For me I have experienced them all. I have lived Easy, Hard, Simple and Complicated. I have craved one when I had the other and wanted things to be different when they couldn’t be. Because my body has experienced each of these things, it subconsciously goes into yearning mode when it is over stimulated toward one direction because it knows that the opposite exists. Is having the best of both worlds having a life that is simple and easy? Does simple and easy exist? I am not sure that is does. Because if we had all that the world has to offer each day at our fingertips, we wouldn’t be stripped of the distractions that make life so simple. It’s why camping, vacations or short term trips appeal to so many people. Because for a short period of time we can have both simple and easy. We can do without a few things that we don’t have and live a simple life. And it’s why toward the end of that time your body starts to tell you that it’s time to transition. Camping forever would not be fun. Vacationing forever would not be fun. The hard would start to settle in and instead of short term, it would start to look more like long term. And we would find ourselves leaning more toward a simple but hard life.
Each of us is in transition mode as we slip back into compliated. For those that it was their first time, this transition is easier. For those who saw the country a little different and God stirred their hearts, it’s more of a challenge. May we not take for grated our time away and what God is yearning to teach us!