Good Mouring

The interesting thing about change is that sometimes it slaps us right across the face and other times only time tells. For me, change is key to the core of my being. Ever since I was 12 I moved every three years. I lived all over California, and then there was the big move to Arkansas. Last year I was in Washington DC and this year I am in the beautiful state of Virginia. I have met lots of amazing people and been exposed to different cultures. Because the scenery changed so often for me, at times it was easy to drop every thing and move on to the next thing other times I was in situations in which I became attached, loved where I was at and didn’t want to leave. I can say from all those times, I took it upon myself to make change a positive thing and make it a growing stage in my life. As I previously mentioned, last year I was in DC and today I am sitting here in Virginia. The cool thing about it is that I’m not to far from the place I once considered home. You may think why is this post is called good MOURNING? Well I think its about time I give myself the opportunity to make peace with my past, to allow the feelings of anger, love, sadness, happiness, joy, sorrow, misery, pain, euphoria, bliss and ecstasy be expressed whether on the inside or the out.

Many times have I had good byes, from co-workers who became friends to my church community, to the people I met on my mission trips, my homeless friends of DC and even to my family. All these emotions that at those points in my life maybe I was not able to recognize, today I want to mourn. A few weeks ago I visited DC and got to visit with old friends. I got to relive some of the experiences I had while I lived there and OH boy It was so good to be back! I was scared though. I did not want to go back, I did not want to face the harsh reality that things changed whether I wanted them to or not. Good mourning I say to you because I have made my peace with yesterday. Things change but at the end of the day I know that God has the bigger picture and I am not one to control what he has in store for me, I can only trust that his light will shine over and protect me.

 

 

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Lessons learned, lessons to teach..

It was exactly one year ago that I took a train from New York to Washington DC. My emotions were of the roof full of excitement and nervousness. Little did I know that God had more things in store for me that I could imagine. It has been a month since I completed my year of service with the YAV Program. I have had a month to semi process what has happened in my life and what changes continue to happen. I will be writing a series of the lessons I have learned. I want to share them with you all. I will write in Spanish and English for your convenience.

Hoy es exactamente un ano desde que tome un tren de Nueva York a Washington DC. Estaba llena de emoción y nervios. Poco me daba cuenta en ese momento que Dios tenia mas cosas para mi de lo que me imaginaba. A pasado ya un mes que complete mi servicio con el programa YAV. E tenido un mes en cual e medio procesado lo que paso en mi vida y los cambios que aun siguen. Estaré escribiendo una serie, sobre las lecciones que e aprendido y quiero compartir con ustedes. Escribiré en Español y Ingles para conveniencia de ustedes.

The first one is called; Home Sweet Home. La Primera; Hogar Dulce Hogar

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Don’t let those innocent smiles fool you, it wasn’t rainbows and butterflies all the time. 😉 Meet my housemates Andy, Mara, and Angela. We all participated in the YAV Program and had one common goal; fight against social injustice. Although we were there for a common interest, we had to work hard to make our house community function and make it feel like it was what we wanted to call “Home Sweet Home.” As a group we made it work, we had house meetings to discuss house concerns, we all had chores to do, and one day a week met with our site coordinator. The first few months I was there I had to make myself be part of this community. I didn’t want to be there, to me there was no place like home, with my parents and my siblings. Eventually, it became home. I knew that if I wanted to gain anything from this experience I had to open up to these strangers. Strangers, that I now call family. As happy and outgoing as I am, I am not one to let my guard down, for the sake of not getting hurt. Unfortunately, all the emotions I tried to avoid, I had to deal with. The best part about that was, that I had my housemates to help me get through anything  that I was going through. As much as I yearned to be at my home with my family, I learned that the best thing to do was learn to live in my community and be intentional with all that I did. After all we only get one chance to be where we are. Don’t let that chance go, to appreciate the people you are with, to work throughout problems, to get hurt, and to be present. Anywhere you are can be Home Sweet Home if you want it to be.

No dejes que esas sonrisas te engañen, nuestro tiempo no todo el tiempo era de arco irises y mariposas. 😉 Les presento a mis compañeros de casa, Andrés, Mara, y Angela. Todos participamos en el programa voluntario, teníamos una meta en común; luchar contra la injusticia social. Aunque todos estábamos allí luchando por la misma causa, tuvimos que trabajar para tener una comunidad estable y hacerla sentir como nuestro dulce hogar. Como grupo logramos hacer que funcionara, teníamos juntas de casa para discutir problemas, teníamos quehaceres y una vez a la semana nos reunimos con nuestra coordinadora. Los primeros meces que estaba allí me tuve que forzar a ser parte de la comunidad. No quería estar allí porque no era mi hogar, no eran mis papas o mis hermanos. A pasar el tiempo, se convirtió en mi hogar. Yo sabia que si quería aprender algo de esta experiencia iba tener que abrirme a ellos a quienes consideraba extraños. Extraños a quienes ahora llamo familia. Por mas alegre que soy, siempre mantengo la guardia por no querer ser lastimada. Desafortunadamente todas las emociones que no me gustan, tuve que confrontarlas. Lo mejor de esa parte es que, tuve a mis compañeros. Ellos me ayudaron a salir adelante. Por mas que quería estar con mi familia y en casa tuve que aprender a vivir con mi comunidad y ser intencional con todo lo que hacia. Solo tenemos una oportunidad en donde nos encontremos. No dejes ir la oportunidad de apreciar a las personas que están en tus alrededores, a resolver problemas, a ser lastimado y a estar presente. Donde quiera que estés puede ser hogar dulce hogar si es lo que quieres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming to an end…I shy away from pain

It feels like it was just yesterday that I packed my life in one luggage bag and a carry on and set for a new adventure to DC. Now I have more to carry with me than I anticipated.

I am not talking in a materialistic sense, rather the friendships I have built with the people on the streets, the suffering from the hardships they face, the social injustice, the pain. I took on a year of service because I figured what better way to answer God’s calling than by doing mission work. Really embracing and living the message, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25: 35-40). Living by this message I have accepted now more than ever that it is really hard to do. Its not hard to help others, what is hard is the after math. Quite a few of homeless individuals have become part of my life and now I have to say good bye. I have felt what they feel and carry the burden they carry of facing social injustice.

Of course I went into this year of service, knowing I would come out off it a changed person. One thing however has not changed, that is me shying away from pain. Saying good-bye is hard. I feel pain when I tell my buddies I will be leaving Capitol Hill Group Ministry at the end of July. The relationships I have established and solely focused on for the past year are coming to an end. Its not to say though that I am not enjoying the last few weeks I have with them. I sit on the floor and listen to amazing, funny stories that come with living in the streets. It doesn’t take away the pain but helps me cope with the uneasiness of having to say good bye.

It will be and has been hard to say good bye. I will carry more than what arrived with but, all this experience has motivated me to keep on fighting the system. It has motivated me to complete my next task in life. (This is another story to tell). I thank you for your time in reading my blog and will follow up soon with another story to share.

Thank you family and friends for your prayers!

 

 

Running the streets of DC

The title can be taken literally or pretty much literally. 🙂IMG-20160414-WA0000

Back on My Feet Team

I RAN A MARATHON! 26.2 MILES! It is possible! It is Now not beyond my imagination to run a marathon because I actually did it. It was quite the experience. It was 3 months of training with my Back on My feet family. I pushed through the long trainings with one of my feet in pain and it payed of in the end. The most amazing thing about this experience was that my mind  managed to motivate my body to keep on going. I ran, stopping only once and I cant rap my head around that. If I can do this, I know I can do whatever I want, thats the power of the mind! You can do it to!

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Running for fun is not the only way I spend my days in DC, being part of Capitol Hill Group Ministry I do a lot of running the city.

My commute to work is 12-14 miles round trip on bike. As a member of the Street Outreach team my days consist of walking from the office to Union Station and Eastern Market. To give you a sense of distance Union Station is about a mile away and Eastern Market is about 1/4 mile away. Depending on the people I am to meet during the day I may have to make multiple trips during the day. On some days I have to accompany my clients to dr. appointments, social security, dmv, or vital records. Regardless of all the physical activity I have to do, I am happy to say I wake up looking forward to my day. At the end of the day I am happily tired knowing it was productive and I make my friends smile. Just look at the smiles they are showing :D. IMG_20160331_114120

#homelessness #backonmyfeetdc #volunteer #marathon

“God and I have become like two giant fat people living in a tiny boat.”

“We keep bumping into each other and laughing.” -Hafiz

When I first heard this poem, I started laughing because, it is very true in my life that God and I keep bumping into each other. There has been days in the last month where I did not want to “see” God or where I was “ignoring” Him. Funny thing is, I did. In the midst of chaotic, stressful, busy, unplanned days, He was there to remind me, “Hey, Here I am.” All I could do when I recognized, “He was bumping into me,” was laugh and be grateful.  The days I did not want to see God were the days I say I was more blessed than any other.

Why was I more blessed? Well, because- an example- one day at work the day did not go the way I though it was supposed to. I went with one of my clients to a doctors appointment. (This was not on my calendar). He asked me to go and I couldn’t say no because I am one to help in any way I can. So, unexpected events go against me controlling my life, emotional imbalance, etc. but there is no greater feeling than building a stronger relationship with my client. Another example is being caught up in my own world. Simply walking out of the office, I check my email- even though I’m off the clock- and by looking at my phone I miss whats around me. Not until a buddy from the neighborhood yells out my name to say hi and asks how I am doing, do I realize I am not paying attention to the blessings that I am surrounded by. There is a joy in hearing one of my buddies say, “My friend, how are you?” Or even on the bus stop talking to the person standing next to me, will one of them start a conversation about the weather and eventually turn to a conversation about God.

So, again, “God and I have become like two giant fat people living in a tiny boat. We keep bumping into each other and laughing.” -Hafiz

There is so much wisdom to learn from this simple poem but there is even more in learning how to appreciate the daily blessings God puts upon our paths.

God bless you friends and family. 🙂

 

 

El Trabajo No se Termina

Mientras el año sigue su rumbo me doy cuenta que tan lento y que tan rápido pueden cambiar las cosas. Gracias a Dios pude ayudar a un muchacho a obtener su primer apartamento y salir de su situación inestable viviendo en la calle. Me dio mucho gusto, trabaje muy duro con mi colega para que todo su papeleo estuviera en orden y poder encontrarlo en las calles. La cara de felicidad que tenía no tiene palabras, fue algo increíble pero, el trabajo no termina aqui.

El muchacho que ayude fue uno de los muchos que conozco de la calle. El cambio para el fue drástico pero para los demás el cambio lo ven a una eternidad. Como lo mencioné al principio, el año seguirá su camino y muchos de los amigos seguirán sin vivienda cuando mi año de servicio se acabe. Así es, la cruel realidad, el tiempo pasa a y las injusticias siempre las habrán, pero para nuestras esperanzas estamos nosotros para ayudar a los menos afortunados.  Cambios siempre habrán, pero el trabajo NO se termina.

Gracias familia y amigos por sus oraciones, porras y por la ayuda moral que me brindan.

New Year complaints, Birthday Wishes

The longest night of the year…

I spent a night in the streets…slept in the cold…slept on a wet floor…only had a wool blanket and my backpack to protect me from the cold…but I experienced it inside a tent and with a heater blowing half of the night…this was the longest night of the year. The longest night of the year and there are many families and single individuals experiencing homelessness in D.C. I thought, “I shouldn’t be complaining because, ‘I had it good’ being inside a tent and with a heater blowing” but, I was wrong.

I DO need to complain. I need to express that NO ONE should be sleeping in the streets. NO ONE deserves to be ignored. EVERY ONE should be acknowledged. EVERY ONE deserves a proper memorial and to be remembered by their name. EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO HOUSING, HOUSING IS HEALTHCARE. I am complaining about D.C’s lack of affordable housing. I am complaining about the notion of “NOT IN MY BACKYARD.” I am complaining about people sleeping in the streets. I AM ANGRY AT SOCIAL INJUSTICES ALL OVER THE WORLD.

A new year begins, so what, if we don’t do something EVERY DAY to make social injustices less prominent is it really a “new” year?

My birthday wishes are to see world injustices less prominent, to put an end to homelessness in D.C and all over the country, to have world peace, and above all forgiveness and grace.

Thank you for your support, God bless you. 🙂

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/vigil-memorializes-41-homeless-people-who-died-in-the-district-in-2015/2015/12/18/eceb9aac-a526-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html?postshare=8581450470622752&tid=ss_fb