High Heels in Honduras
By Monica P Flood
Through the hole in the roof…
The bugs scurried in.
The wet trickled in.
The dust swirled around carelessly.
A unpleasant carpet of dirt and grime replaced the students that once gathered here eager to learn.
Poverty can be shaming.
People are afraid to look it in the eye because it’s too real – too immensely painful.
Poverty calls us to pay attention and act.
I said yes because I wanted my friend to stop badgering me. She went on and on, “You need to come. It’s life changing. Everyone should do it once.”
“Okay,” I thought,
“I can do about anything once, right?”
Every day when I get out of bed I follow two rules to help set my day off to a positive start. Exercise, watch your carbs, and wear heels. Okay, so maybe that’s three.
I’m a big believer that what you put inside yourself is what you give back to the world.
I have a lot of blessings: warm house, nice car, food on the table, supportive friends and family, (mostly) good genes.
I appreciate the numerous gifts I enjoy. I feel this beckons me to contribute where there is need.
Mission work appealed to my desire to be part of a force bigger than just me. I showed up and others showed up too. Soon me transformed into we.
We helped replace the roof on the falling down classroom.
We hauled away the debris. We pulled weeds. We painted walls. We climbed mountains. We gathered supplies. We talked. We prayed. We laughed. We cried. We cheered each other on. We held each other up. It works because we are stronger together.
For a brief moment in time we embrace the reality of Honduran life in which over half the people live below the poverty line. During our stay we reside in a community where time seemingly stands still. (No worrying about traffic jams, depleted phone batteries, rushing to the next appointment, or waiting in line at Starbucks.) We stand hand in hand and heart to heart. We are as one. Reaching out as a united strength to make a difference-to spread God’s guiding light of love.
I thought this was for the people of Honduras but I discovered it was for me.
It was a profound lesson in the unity love radiates-in being part of something mysterious, immeasurable, and more meaningful than I alone could ever achieve. It was an experience of shared humanity that binds us together-to give of ourselves, our time, our talents, our blessings and our shared compassion for one another. We discovered we are more alike than different and we belong to each other. Do something. Reach out. Show up to help and you will help yourself become a difference maker. (Heels optional, of course)
Lagniappe (as we say in Louisiana, a little something extra):
If you put me in a line up- with my snuggly fit dress, long-flowing, auburn hair, strategically placed make-up, and celebrated heels, you would certainly vote me most likely NOT to go on a mission trip. (especially one involving a rustic camp like setting) But I have been blessed with an enormous array of beautiful souls in my life who are immensely caring and give endlessly of their time and talent. They are friends, family, teachers, artists, priests, deacons, and spiritual role models for me. These remarkable people showed they lovingly cared through example, not words, and I learned by silently watching them in utter amazement. Thank you for repeatably being patient with me and gently encouraging me to steadily blossom. At times my journey has been laced in painful, snail paced, backward shuffles but you never gave up your encouragement and hopefulness. You continually cheered me on with love and beckoned me strive for progress not perfection. May what you choose to do continue to be a lasting inspiration to others as you, gratefully, have been to me.