Early Saturday morning I leave for Nicaragua.
With me will be a group of high school students and adults.
58 of us in all.
We will spend the week helping to build homes for six families.
As important as that is and it is life changing for those families, what is equally if not more important, is this. We will begin to look at and to see the world with new eyes.
We will see poverty.
We will experience resilience and hope.
We will stand face to face with gratitude.
And, somewhere in the midst of all that, our lives will change.
No longer will the world look solely like Westchester County, NY.
As a part of our reflection during the week will be this quote from Frederick Buechner.
“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say, like artists, we must see not just their faces, but the life behind and within their faces.”
Even those who do not identify as Christian know the story Jesus told of The Good Samaritan. The stranger/the outsider who stopped to help the person in distress. Jesus told that story in response to the question “Who is my neighbor?” For sometime I have considered that question and how we answer it to be the most critical religious question of the day.
Who is your neighbor?
Those who live near you?
Those who look like you?
Those who speak the same language as you?
Those whose religious practices match yours?
None of those are true in the story Jesus told.
Saturday I leave for Nicaragua.
My hope for myself and for those who go with me is how we answer that question will change and our neighborhood will become a bit larger.
*The picture is of Rosa Flores, her husband Santos and three of their grandchildren. We will build a new home for them next week.