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.
© 2014, Amaya Engleking