Motorcycle is in the shop for its final pre-road repairs and check-up. I think this marks the first "first visit to a mechanic" for any of my motorcycles in which the bike was in better condition than when I bought it. I mean... he's still fixing my bike... but I consider it a small victory. Basically, there are some stripped holes to re-tool ... (only one of which I had anything to do with, and I'm fairly certain that this one was only partly my fault) so he'll be sealing the new gasket and changing the oil while he's at it. Buuut... that little mistake on top of a handful of major victories, so... yeah. I feel good about it. Aaaaand... this also means it'll be roadworthy finally.
I spent part of this evening drinking white tea and talking with one of the Paraguayan staff here named Antonio. Really he's the guts of this place... has been working here for longer than I've been breathing air. Saturday I ate lunch with him and the ground workers, guards and cleaning ladies here and was more deeply blessed by the whole experience than I have been in a group of people for a long time... at least since College... (which doesn't feel like it was that long ago... but I have been down here for almost a year now.) I have neither energy nor inspiration for poetry this evening to describe it... but it was to me, deeply beautiful. We sang together, ate asado, and the laughter... there was lots of laughter... every one of them seemed completely comfortable with each other... comfortable with the love they knew they had in that group. We played some equivalent of musical chairs (passing a tennis ball around until the music stopped,) the losers of which had to either sing for the whole group or do a dance. One of the cleaning ladies ended up dancing to "Oh Susanna," after I bashfully scrambled for somethign I could play that wouldn't be ridiculous for her to dance to. They assured me ridiculous was just dandy. (or... however you convey that in spanish).
In the past week I have spent good amount of time in the evenings with Antonio, talking about various things. I am ill-at ease with the ease and transparency of his faith. We talked about all sorts of things. He told me a good piece of his story... who he was... how accepting and choosing to live for Christ has changed his life. He is rich with anecdote. He is generous with anecdote. His Christianity is uncomplicated, and noone has yet convinced him that he is not allowed to believe it. It makes me very happy to be with him, and the other workers. They all seem to glow in the same way. Thier ranks change comparatively slowly to the starched Christians like me who come to teach... who posture and stress, argue, gossip and fight. I'm sure they aren't perfect, but I'm also quite certain they know it. I am ashamed of myself... ashamed of my arrogance... ashamed of my things, and how little real work I did to get them. But I am not discouraged... just ashamed. I do not feel discouraged as long as I have choice, and in this re-tooling of my perspective, I feel like I do.
I am arriving at a new guiding principle in this laboratory of life... and that is simply to find those who seem genuinely, transparently happy in life... and listen for why.