“Lean into discomfort,” is a great phrase that has been echoed many times here. While well-intended and assuredly well-received, it dawned on me that I’ve just never been one to inch into the water. If I’m going to get my feet wet, I might as well go all the way, as quickly as possible, and with feigned bravery written on my face. I recently had the pleasure of receiving a lovely letter in the mail, which contained a lucky little reminder: I have no doubt in your ability to dive right in. So do it! Lately, I have been the tiniest bit guilty of complacency and choosing comfort over the uncertainty of adventure. That is not how a courageous women would travel through life, especially when she is studying abroad in the Dominican Republic. Who am I not to open up and try new things (even if that means somewhat regretting that cachú-doused street food)? Luckily the Man Upstairs knows precisely how to nudge us in the right direction, and in less than three days, the Comunidad will embark on our first campo immersion. I’m not going to smooth over my uneasiness and act like spending 10 days in a mountain village with no Internet, no running water, and no English-speakers doesn’t freak me out. In fact, the mere thought makes me want to wrap myself up in a tidy burrito of cleanliness, familiarity and good Internet access. But like the rest of my tough companions, I’m just going to take it into stride. It’s actually pretty funny the way things work out. Recently, I was surprised to find myself suffering the pangs of deeply missing my grandparents and the crazy hooligans I call my siblings, but it turns out that my host family includes an abuelita, Olga, and two niños, ages 12 and 8. ¡Qué linda! Not only that, but there’s a tree-climbing, swamp-exploring, and bug-catching little girl inside of me that I would love to get in touch with again. Here’s to rediscovering simple ways to be joyful. Here’s to discovering new ways to be thankful. And on that happy note, an admirable poem:
By: Edgar Lee Masters
Give me strength to endure
The gifts of the Muses,
Daughters of Memory.
When the sky is blue as Minerva’s eyes
Let me stand unshaken;
When the sea sings to the rising sun
Let me be unafraid;
When the meadow lark falls like a meteor
Through the light of afternoon,
An unloosened fountain of rapture,
Keep my heart from spilling
Its vital power;
When at the dawn
The dim souls of crocuses hear the calls
Of waking birds,
Give me to live but master the loveliness.
Keep my eyes unharmed from splendors
Unveiled by you,
And my ears at peace
Filled no less with the music
Of Passion and Pain, growth and change.
But O ye sacred and terrible powers,
Reckless of my mortality,
Strengthen me to behold a face,
To know the spirit of a beloved one
Yet to endure, yet to dare!