As I sit here back in San Salvador after four days in Brophy’s sister communities and reflect on the pilgrimage I have embarked on so far, I can’t help but think about the love and joy that I have experienced these past days. There are so many stories and moments I would love to share, but there was one that really stuck out to me. At the first village we stayed at in El Junquillo, Morazán Province, my heart was shredded to pieces. I witnessed what the poorest of the poor actually look like.
These Salvadoran people have absolutely nothing. They live in horrible conditions with the constant battle of weather and disease. They have little to no money and everyday is a struggle to survive. Yet, as I lived there, I realized that these are the wealthiest people on earth. They are rich in love and compassion. They are plentiful in their pure joy for life. They have God and each other, which somehow becomes enough. They have truly taught me how to love. Not how to simply be nice to someone and smile, but how to truly will the good of the other. They have shown me, by action, that love conquers everything. Amor Vincit Omnia.
There is one specific story I’d like to share where I got to use this love that has been bursting through my heart. After a night of dancing and singing and running around with the little kids, I was exhausted and I just wanted to lay in my hammock. I walked into the kitchen of the tiny house I was staying in, and I saw Exaltación sitting there listening to the radio. Exaltación is an elderly woman who has been through hell and back in her life, and she is still here willing to be with me. I could just tell she wanted to keep dancing. My heart burst open wide as I extended my hands to her and said, “¿Quieres bailar conmigo?” Do you want to dance with me?
She jumped up in joy and we slow-danced to the music. It was pitch black in the middle of the night with a woman I barely knew, and it was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced. I was in a foreign country with foreign people sharing the most beautiful moments with the most beautiful people. I can’t comprehend all that has happened so far. My heart has been opened wide and I can’t help but just want to love. I am brokenhearted for the people and for the way I have treated others. I want to love properly. I desire to share the gift of love that God has given me.