Friday, March 6, 2009


Editor's note: With our new setup here, I write most of my posts before I go to the internet cafe - that is, before I read any comments on the previous day's post. So this one does not reflect the grin on my face after reading all your fantastic notes. :) We miss you all, too, and we can't wait to see some of you very soon.

This morning we awoke an hour before dawn. Chris had to catch a 6am bus to Guadalajara; she has a monthly colloquy there at the Colegio de Jalisco.

I was actually surprised we were both able to wake up that early, but I can’t say it was difficult to get out of bed. Neither of us have been sleeping all that well. Maybe it’s the stress of moving. Maybe it’s the thin, child-size mattress we’re sleeping on. Maybe it’s the pendulum swing of temperatures in the night; we try to fall asleep in the stuffy heat, but by morning the single bed sheet we have in this apartment isn’t nearly enough to keep us warm. Maybe it’s the sounds: people coming home next door at 2am, dogs who begin yipping at 3am and never stop, church bells that ring every hour, all night long.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s that yesterday morning we watched in horror as the lock on our front door begin to turn; someone was opening it with their own key. When I threw open the window a man gaped at me wide-eyed: He’s been doing construction work on the apartments, and no one had bothered to tell him that we had moved in the day before. (Well, this is what Chris told me he said - he kind of frantically chattered at me, half-apologetically, half-defensively, in Spanish too rapid for me to completely understand. It makes for an odd experience...)

But we made it through the night, and somehow made it up in the morning, too. On a morning like this I am reminded of my fledgling hypothesis that there is nothing better in the wee hours of a frigid morning than a hot cup of coffee. Sadly, we still lack any way to heat water. Including shower water. There’s no time to shower anyway; I drink some water out of a jug, throw on a sweatshirt and we’re out the door.

The lights of the city are still glowing, spread out before us like a blanket of blinking Christmas lights. The blue neon crosses that top the church spires are still radiating their Vegas-like lights, too – a strange nighttime opposite to the cathedrals’ Old World appearance in the daylight.

We walk down the hill, and cross over the massive arcing bridge, a bridge that seems to have grown like a great tail out of another huge church that sits on the edge of the dried-up river. One of our guidebooks says this church and its accompanying bridge were built centuries ago, during the colonial era, “when Lagos de Moreno was on the silver road between Zacatecas and Mexico City.” But no one is carrying silver across the bridge on this frigid morning. Only a handful of other people are making their way through the frigid darkness at this hour, some on foot, some on bikes, two or three in cars.

We step off the bridge to find the old bus station lit up brighter than anything for miles around. Chris buys her ticket; we made it just in time. I turn to go, and notice as I walk by one of those little coffee vending machines. I stop and walk back to it. My bleary eyes read the options; I put in 6 pesos for a “café americano.” Most of it spills all over my hand as I leave the bus station, but I manage to drink some of it anyway. It’s hot, which is all I needed.

As I cross back over the bridge, I hear a rooster crow. A rooster. I shake my head. I think of the people back home who ask about buses full of chickens in Mexico; maybe our experience is finally starting to conform to the stereotype…

When I get back home the water faucets were useless. No hay agua. As I write this in the afternoon it’s been several hours, and there’s still no running water. I don’t even know who to call. (Speaking of which, the gas connection still doesn't work, either - but don't worry, Dad, I haven't the slightest clue how to fix it so I'm not going to mess with it. As Chris says, "You don't mess with gas.") After trying all the faucets in the house (a total of five - the cold water knob in the shower doesn't work, ironically), I did the only thing I could think of: I went up to the roof and watched the sun come up.

The other day, a few hours after the strange man tried to get in our apartment, we were doing a morning devotional when Chris flipped open to the appointed verse in Genesis, chapter twelve. She started to read, then caught herself and had to stop. Sometimes Scripture cuts a little too deep.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

I’m not entirely certain, but I imagine that Abram took it one day at a time, too.


From Michigan with Love said...

Wise beyond your...who am I kidding you are pretty old! :-) Glad you caught the sun rise! What a great experience once in a while...I'll never forget the sun rise in the desert of Morocco...that's right...U2 and I are basicaly brothers! :-)

Mike and Beth said...

Seconds build into minutes, that give way to hours, that become days. And days pass. Some with joy and excitement and others with lonesome and confusing moments. But they do pass. And when we have a chance to reflect on them in the clearness of the dawn, then we may be able to say what meaning they bring. Or, maybe not. But it is God who assesses meaning, not us. I'm sure that Moses had many restless nights wondering why God had brought him to that God- forsaken place. Thousands of years later it makes perfect sense to us. I pray it doesn't take so long for your heart to catch up to your head. For while in your head, you already know why you are there, your heart still longs to be in the cocoon of a seminary campus, surrounded by friends, bending elbows and watching U2 on Letterman. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Be still and know that God is God. Peace, My Brother