In the recent months after returning to America I have been consumed, at times, with thoughts about my time in Honduras. This is not unusual after doing missionary work in such a remote and unique place. It is difficult to be immersed in the world and way of life that La Moskitia, Honduras has to offer. However, it has always been surprising to me how similar the return to America feels compared to the feeling of arrival in Honduras. Both occurrences have, what can only be described as, a shocking mental aspect.
When I say shocking, I am speaking to the feeling of uncertainty that one may have when leaving their "Comfort Zone". It is obvious that when proceeding to enter a 3rd world country that is well known as one of the most dangerous places in the world, the idea of a comfort zone is nowhere near the expected criteria. As soon has one steps off of the plane and enters the world that is Honduras, it is truly Shocking. And why would it not be? The way of life here in America is one of relatively no true uncertainty. Yes, people live on the popularized poster-board quotes that claim "You never know what tomorrow may bring", but largely you at least have a pretty good idea of what is coming tomorrow. Generally, it is well known that you will eat, not worry for your safety, have shelter over you head, and should you get sick - likely have the means to make sure it doesn't reach a fatal point. As long as those points are covered, you don't experience true uncertainty.
Those simple luxuries, the ones that we seldom bring to the front of our minds, they do not exist in the everyday life of the Honduran people. And for the brief time that we as missionaries spend amongst them, they do not exist for us either. However, the feeling of true uncertainty, the overwhelming loss of control, has an insurmountable value in it. The obvious value comes from the sudden and immediate appreciation one gains for the sense of certainty and control that we are afforded through the American way of life. This is instant and initially overwhelming.
Though, there is a value in this experience that runs far deeper. I always find it difficult to formulate the words to accurately describe this value; which is why this documentary is so vital in instilling the properties of what this experience has to offer. I can only describe it as Self Enlightening. This is value that you find after being in this world of uncertainty for some time. It has traditionally found me toward the end of each trip, as I am starting to become accustomed to the way of life that rural Honduras demands. At this time, during every trip, I lay awake at night unable to sleep because I am thinking, just thinking. I tend to do this often anyway, however, the thoughts are different than when I am in the comfort of American luxury. When I am home I think of all the stresses of life: What I need to do tomorrow, this week, this month, am I forgetting anything, how can I accomplish this goal, what if I underperform at my job, and so on. When I lay awake in Honduras, away from the opulent luxury of a comfortable bed, spacious apartment, and air conditioning - The thoughts keeping me up change. I think of my family, loved ones, my faith, who I am as person, how I might be seen by others, if I am truly good, and what can I do in the coming day to improve the lives of others.
When I return to America I catch myself, laying in bed at night, having returned to my old thoughts of luxurious stresses keeping me awake. I am not saying these are not valid thoughts for someone to have, they are without a doubt very real problems. They are however, in the grand scheme of things, little. The value of one having the distractions of luxury and comfort ripped away, is the profound vision that is gained into what is truly valuable. This is the Self Enlightenment I am speaking to. The insight that grants brief and involuntary moments of pure self exploration, where, for just a moment, you may gleam a picture of what you truly value out of yourself.
This encountered change cannot be manufactured. If it can, I have yet to find a method that brings me into that state of mind. Surrounding yourself with true uncertainty, is the first step toward gaining the knowledge of what it is you truly value. And perhaps you may be able to predict what is that you will lay awake thinking of. It is not uncommon for one who does not know what tomorrow will bring to think of faith and family. But you cannot fully feel how much you value and long for those very real aspects of life, until you no longer have a them immediately in your reach. When comfort is replaced with uncertainty, you gain the sight to understand what brings you that comfort. Once achieved, those things you truly value are never again taken for granted and can never be returned to the lesser value that they once were. We simply need to be willing to, for a brief time, sacrifice the comforts of our everyday life.