A spider’s web is stronger than it looks. Although it is made of thin, delicate strands, the web is not easily broken.
Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Quotes from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Meeting people and making friends in a foreign country has been one of the most fulfilling parts of this life assignment. The easy-going and friendly culture in Mexico allows ample access onto the intricate social web that connects Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, Europeans and others who have landed here either temporarily or longer term. After 4 years of living in Merida I find that navigating this web brings much joy and intrigue as I try to figure out why intersections exist between people from all over the world.
I have faith in the truth that God is both planning and spinning these intersections and at the same time allowing us to freely move about. I trust that He already knows what is going to happen which alleviates at least some of the stress by knowing that there are no accidental encounters. Being 100% human (and a highly imperfect version), I often fall victim to the strain of survival in a foreign land, a foreign language, a foreign culture.
What navigation is required on the web? Taking a page from wiser ones who have gone before me like Joni Tada and Cori Ten Boom, I do what I can to walk each day with the objective and prayer that each encounter be meaningful and instructive.
To be allowed into other people’s lives has been a great gift. The opening can come through sports, school, kids, marriage, neighbors, travels and the like. Many windows open because of the outreach work we are doing in Yucatán with abandoned grandparents and kids. God sets up the unique crossings through which we pass into each other’s lives. We just go.
Case in point, I hurt my right shoulder in January and have been going to physio ever since. I’m getting better day by day but the progress is slow. I’m able to play tennis again which has lifted my spirits tremendously and brought me back to the sport after a long hiatus. I played as a teenager growing up in Texas but once adulthood arrived and I moved to Canada in pursuit of a handsome man from Alberta (where racquets are melted down to make hockey sticks) the tennis career was long gone. This injury has tested my patience not only physically but also emotionally as I had to sit on the sidelines at least in the sports category where I have made many friends in Merida.
Through this injury I learned that there is no such thing as a bench warmer when living on the web.
I was lying on the physio table for the umpteenth time, connected to a labyrinth of electrodes shooting some sort of low-level current through my shoulder. I pondered the scenario that if the therapist was having a bad day, he could increase the load and kill me and it not be classified as murder. Then I thought, how do I know this is electricity and not some toxic green fluid that is passing into my veins through those electrodes? Cause of death, physiotherapy. That would make for an interesting obituary.
If you have experience with sports therapy, you can relate to the time spent lying on a table waiting for the magic of the machine to do its thing. You reach a point where there’s not much more to talk about biomechanically, electrocurrently, muscularly, tendonly or rotatorcuffly and so the conversation just dies.
“Can I ask you a personal question Darcy? Why are you all here in Mexico?” he asked.
It was the intersection I had honestly not expected to open but there it was. There could be time to get in before the murder scene would become obvious and the forensic team would arrive.
What came next was a blur, but suffice to say that a story was shared, a few questions were asked, and some honest exchange occurred about the meaning of life and the implications of suffering, pain and injury.
I won’t go into the details but I will leave it at this because it’s a funny detail. Right around 15 minutes into the discussion (with a bilingual assistant listening intently and chiming in for the bits requiring translation between us) the electricity / toxic injection timer went bing, I checked my pulse and realized that no murder had occurred. Simultaneously my bladder miraculously also went bing and it was time to hop up and visit the baño which my children think is my second home. As I wrapped up what I was saying, I smiled and said, ‘well there you go, something to think about’ or something to that effect, and jollied off to do my business. They stood up and smiled and then there was a brief silence as I closed the door and began eavesdropping (confession). I could overhear them talking quietly.
It’s not clear to me how far the story settled into their hearts nor is it my desire to know those details (that’s for God to know) but from their hushed remarks I can tell it at least left a dent.
The intersection promptly closed after thanks and hugs were exchanged. It was time to stretch and pay and be on my way to the next adventure.