Traveling and Trembling

Buenas Día a las JFK,

I am sitting in the airport with about a half hour left before I board of flight to Santiago Dominica república. It is actually the first time I am traveling out of the country in 24 years. It is amazing to me that it has been that long and the last time I flew out of JFK I was going to Europe.

I am actually in flight at the moment and while my phone is in airplane mode I can still write. We are currently passing over Jacksonville, SC, turning out over the Atlantic Ocean. We are about 2 hours from our destination. I am actually beginning to relax a bit. I need to unwind more than I realized. While I know it has been a long couple months, I found out more clearly than I want how overwhelmed I am. Those who know me well know I seldom if ever get really angry or lash out at anything or anyone. However, I had such a moment last night. It didn’t last more than a minute, but when I stood on the back porch afterwards my entire body shook and trembled for more than 5 minutes. It was horrible. It was difficult because I care so deeply about Jordan and I am so grateful to him for so many things. However, I care so deeply about all the Galáns. The long and short of the evening was that I learned yet more about them and more about myself. In spite of my failing in that moment they responded with a sense of love and caring that I have never experienced in my entire life . . . ever. They literally surrounded me with receiving arms of care and words of support and love. As undeserving as I was, they spoke words of forgiveness. I tremble now in gratitude. This morning as Sr. Galán and I went to the airport, he explained in words what I experienced last night. They were words of wisdom and words of beauty. I experienced genuine care and love last night in a way that I did not realize was possible. I was given a gift from God that began as a young man in a summer class and continues to manifest itself in ways I never could have imagined. I am reminded of Paul’s words: “I, the least of them, have been the most richly blessed.”

The variety of ways that they care for me and the sum total of what they have done is also unequaled. Indeed, there are people who have loved me, and those who do more than I probably allow, ( a couple of you know who you are because you read this) but I have a long history of doing it alone. It has been safer that way. This amazing experience has taught me how people from different cultures and different backgrounds have a mutual responsibility for each other. As my last blog focused on “Alterity”, what if we worked to understand our interpersonal and global dependence on each other? How might we change as individuals? How might the world change? How might the balance of power change? Even as I write this I am finding a change in my thought process. Is there more truth in the idea that we are encouraged to continually create a group(s) of “the others”? Is there as much of a sinister power out there manipulating us to keep us fractured and incapable of changing?

Estoy en a las aeropuerto de Santiago. As we first saw land Sr. Galán’s eyes lit up. He said emotionally, “It is the first time I have seen my home in 14 years.” My being here with him began to sink in. I have been away from the mainland (the forty-eight contiguous states) for a period of time, but never away from my entire country for such an extended time. . . . It is about 5 hours later and we are in Puerto Plato at the home for the week. I have never experienced such a place. Oh my goodness. Es esta maravilloso. After unloading things, we went to dinner. Mero de filete a la fresa y tostones. Comida para cuatro persones esta 36.00. I was stunned. The resort and the town are two different worlds. I should note if there are mistakes in my Spanish, I am not using a translator. The other thing about being here that is quite ridiculous is the driving. I think my life flashed before my eyes at least a dozen times today. There was one particular time when a truck was way over the yellow line and coming towards us.

So we have been at dance parties and discos (clubs) since 9:00 and it is 12:30. It is the most I have danced in over 10 years. It was a blast. My head is full of so many thoughts, but mostly how infectious this culture and their passion for life permeates their being. The music and the dancing and the rhythm is phenomenal. I have some sense of Melissa out this weekend. I will be hearing similar music, but in a very different setting. We came to this club and it was dead 15 minutes ago; now it is packed. Everywhere there are the most amazing smiles and the most wonderful dancing.

There is so much to write, but my phone is dying and I have limited access to wifi or I pay. Thanks for reading. More tomorrow.

Michael

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