Violent City

violent city

What I must learn about Colombia is that the journey was God-driven.  My speech was taken from me in those intimidating streets except when I was supposed to (and needed to, at this point) speak about my Lord.  I wrote that letter to Catalina, not knowing who on earth she was but a sister in heaven; but God gave me the words as well as the scripture from Deuteronomy chapter thirty, and she turned out to be a Medellín prostitute.  It’s not easy.  Humbling, to be writing to a lost soul who was both selling herself and who was myself: we are all sinners and our sins equal in the eyes of the Most High.  How does God work the perfection?

I read Thomas á Kempis in the morning and the Bible throughout the day.  I had quit my job, the first in my life that offered “upward mobility” to read the Bible cover to cover in the violent city.  People overcome by addiction or grief dotting the sidewalks all across the valley, passed out while others just stepped over them.  Even the school children were wary, like they’ve seen too much.  Carlos and Astrid, angels for me, as well as Rafa’s relatives: Luz Angelica and her brother Bernardo and his wife Nancy.  There were even a few days of good old-timey laughter–backyard sancocho and singing corridos– with these beacons of light.  In the darkest place.  Still I walked the streets alone, on my way to Spanish tutor Tallulah Flores’ apartment, or just to discover environment and practice religion.  When wandering, everything is in God’s hands and I am nothing.  Or just a speck tuned into my Creator by prayer.  Many who shared the streets have killed men.  Some live in redemption and others in paranoia.  Still others in vengeance.  Everything so fragmented because you can’t trust your neighbor and the secret life that drives him to broken action.  I saw in the crazed eyes of the man who stabbed Rafa’s friend what little value he held in human life.

Once again, God shows us children for whom we need to pray.

Moravia

Part of a mural by Medellin artist Carlos Vieira, from whom I rented a room while living there; based on the city’s neighborhood, La Moravia.

© 2014, Amaya Engleking

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5 comments

  1. Saturated In Seattle · April 13, 2016

    You. Amaze. Me! I cannot imagine wandering such streets. I love that you had this experience, I love that the Lord gave you His words when you needed them and not before. I love that He gave you His eyes to see people as equal, as broken, and in desperate need—as we all are–for so much more than this life can offer. I am fully expecting that one day you will compile all these thought-provoking, beautiful experiences into a book. And I fully expect that I will be the first in line to purchase it!

    • gospelisosceles · April 14, 2016

      Haha, yeah right, Karyn. At this rate, it’ll be dedicated to you! A sincere thanks for your continual encouragement.

  2. dedhedpoetblog · April 16, 2016

    Thank you for following me, I will do the same. I loved you piece and others as well. Your work resonates within me. I felt uplifted and in the presence of a kindred spirit. I discovered the meaning of life, before age thirty, I am here to serve God. Even though my poetry and writings do not obvious reflect it. I have known my true reason for being on earth. I connected so well with with your honesty and a true feeling that you are here to help others, serve God and the hopeless. I have a prayer/ self-help book in the works, “By His Stripes, We are Healed,(from Addictions.) Maybe a series focusing on the slavery of sin and the power of God’s healing love. Can’t wait to hear more from you! Very well done!

    • gospelisosceles · April 18, 2016

      Aww, bless you, sister! I’m glad we can read one another’s works, even if they aren’t all preachy, happy-go-lucky, full of praise and God-talk. Although, I know I mention God and the Holy Spirit often in verse and in reflections; but I do try to really convey that these spiritual things are from the heart and not just something I’ve heard or believe in intellectually. All this talk reminds me of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks who talks about the lonely God because know one ever wants to walk with him, slap him on the shoulder, poo-poo his politics, buy him a coca-cola or a beer, etc. THAT is the writing and kind of life I’m interested in, and it sounds like you’re right there with me. Thank you very much!

      • dedhedpoetblog · April 19, 2016

        I love Brooks, have a book by her! Awesome, praise Jesus our Savior!

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