Sunday, December 18, 2016

Love Like A Shield

“Be safe,” “Safe travels”, “Take care”, were frequent Facebook comments when the post about my upcoming travel to Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia arrived on the platform last weekend. I recently said the same thing to my daughter Sarah when she set out in a blizzard to go ski in Colorado. I wished her to take care so as not to come to harm. If I could I would envelope her with love like a shield.

I understand others concern behind the words, and am grateful for the sentiments. In part there is precautionary warning because life has many uncertanties. In fact, when I told my brother I was going to Mexico he said he recently cancelled his trip there with his Mexican girlfriend because it is alarmingly unsafe. A Mexican friend of mine, an undocumented worker who I have hired occasionally for years also warned me. When I said, “I am going to Mexico Sergio!” he looked into my eyes for a second and smiled, then looked down at the ground and said, “Don't go.”
Buddha boy at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Christmas 2015

It reminds me of 2008 as I prepared to journey for a year around the world. I knew I wanted to visit Egypt. As the day approached to fly to the middle east, I had some dark thoughts because Islamic extremists from Egypt flew the planes into the world trade towers. I almost changed my plans but went anyway. Now when people ask what is my favorite place in the world, I often mention Egypt.

External threats are apparent on the news. But what of threats from the inside? Years ago I remember seeing a news article in the local paper about a woman and her sick daughter. A photo showed them together in their living room. The woman had a long syringe in her hand and forlorn look. She had to inject her daughter with medicine to relieve pain. I felt pity that these two lives had become so narrow and miserable. Little did I know that within a few years this scene would play out in my life. A serial killer lurked within my daughter's body. No one knows how long this beast stalked her, but it grew and made itself known, wreaking havoc. Within two years of our discovery of cancer, it killed Naomi. She did not have to set foot out of her house. The danger was within. (A Heart Traced In Sand).

I believe everyone carries malevolent germs and organisms that given an opportunity can cause death. Our body holds them in check. My cousin went to Cost Rica, picked up a germ and died of spinal meningitis within weeks of returning home. Early in life he had leukemia and almost died. Furthermore, our brains and nervous system are highly tuned. People can become unhinged, mentally “ill”. Quality of life is severely diminished from trauma. How many are on prescriptions?

I learned when Naomi fell ill that there is no safety in life. We assume there is, but there is not. So I will go on my work/adventure and realize that anything is possible. Even death. But my body knows that already. And I do not want to live without thrill and discovery. That is worse than death. During her time of ordeal, Naomi always looked to the positive, to beauty and light as powerful allies that would enable her to overcome.

I leave January 11. The US State department lists travel warnings everywhere in the world. (See International Travel). There are many places in Mexico with warnings, but the place I am going is without apparent peril. From there I go to Ecuador for a month. I had planned to go to Bolivia for a world-class carnival but could not get a place to stay. It is so popular that people make bookings a year in advance.
Another time maybe.

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