Proust in Central America

IMG_0646IMG_6383IMG_7129IMG_1461FullSizeRender3A1E300E-96AD-445F-BFF9-3CA7D2EB2556It is the time of the year to start dreaming of summer vacation, and for me this means a trip to Honduras. Six of my students, all graduating seniors, will be with us this trip. I’m including their photos above. I was particularly moved by these young people because they came to me to ask if they could join our mission before I had mentioned anything  about going to Honduras. With continuing wonder, Sally and I have become observers of a project that seems to draw loving people into its orbit.   I’ve asked them to view some of our old posts to get a sense of what it might be like in a mountain school surrounded by smiling children. Reviewing these posts myself, I felt like Marcel Proust, overcome by recollections of the past, overcome by a beguiling nostalgia, an enchantment.

It was not the taste of a petite madeleine dipped in tea that I sought in the memories evoked by those posts; it was that quiet joy, that moral clarity, that sense of ethical purpose. I remember a film entitled ” The Hurt Locker” which involved the adventures of a munitions expert in Baghdad who defuses bombs for the military. After his tour ends in Iraq, he returns home to his wife and child. He goes shopping for breakfast cereal and is overwhelmed by the bright lights. the muzak playing and the sheer number of choices offered in the cereal aisle. In the next frame he is back in Iraq risking his life. I think I understand him. In Baghdad his life is simple and full of life and death importance. Most days I feel like I’m in the cereal aisle of moral choices, confused and ill at ease. It seems quaint  and naive to try to love your neighbor as yourself here in Texas. This is never the case in Honduras . Some day I’ll bring some of that confidence back home.

A final note: I’ll identify those handsome folks who are about to find out  what I was struggling to convey earlier. In the order of their photos: Tong Vu, who will be attending Blinn College; Brian Cash, also attending Blinn College; Kaelin Casey, who will attend Concordia College ; Brooke Mueller, who will attend Texas A&M; Hannah Patek, is bound for Texas Tech University; and Presley Carter, will be at the University of Texas in Austin. I feel a father’s pride in all of them.

More later,

Mark

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