Monday, May 08, 2006

Uninvite Myself

The easiest thing to feel when things are awry is pity. I often invite myself to pity parties and eat the whole cake. By myself.

It seems like everything that could go wrong, has. Life handed me a kilo of lemons and insisted on making lemonade. I, however, don’t want lemonade. And I don’t want to go to yet another pity party.

This is why JD and I loaded a van full of toys and non-perishable items and drove to Rosarito, Mexico last Saturday. The easiest way to get out of an emotional funk is to give freely. Give of one’s time, energy and money. So that’s what we did. JD and I loaded a van full of goods for those who are not as fortunate as us and then left in the pre-dawn light of Saturday morning.

* * * * *

Make sure and lock the doors, I said over my shoulder to JD as we got out of the van. I glanced at my watch and realized we made it to Mexico in an hour and a half. Not bad. JD crept behind me and slipped his arms around my shoulders. What are you gonna order, he asked. We stood outside a taco stand and our mouths watered as the grill smoke tickled our noses. This was part of the ritual. Ordering tacos…getting lost in a nearby town…distributing gifts and food…buying Mexican sweetbread (pan dulce) from a local bakery…and nibbling on it as we wait to cross the Mexican/American border. It’s a ritual we practice about twice a year.

Tacos. Quesdillas. Pepsi. They’re foods of the gods bestowed on mere mortals. Present day nectar and ambrosia. ☺ As we ate, I heard the voice of a little girl behind the wall I was seated in front of. The voice—the sadness—piqued my interest and I wanted to find her. I crept behind the wall to find a six-year-old girl in a pink dress pushing her baby sister in a walker. Liliana, she responded in Spanish when I asked her name. And this is Monica, she said as she pointed to her eight-month sister.

The area they sat in housed mops, empty soda bottles, buckets, and just about any piece of salvageable junk. I talked to her and showed her my camera. Would you like to take a picture of me, I asked. She wrapped her sticky fingers around my camera and I flashed a smile her way. She was tickled when she saw my image on the LCD screen. I asked if I would be able to take pictures of her and Monica. She agreed on the condition that I would show her the pictures when I was through.

A few minutes later, JD walked into the back area where I was shooting and in his hands were toys for Liliana and Monica.

At first, Liliana didn’t understand why we gave her a gift, but after we explained that God loved her and we wanted to give her something special, she smiled. For the first time since I met her.

* * * *

The rest of the day was spent distributing toys and food to the street children of Tijuana and Rosarito. As we crossed the border, JD and I past sweetbread to each other and listened to the sounds of honking horns and Mariachi music.

As we made our way in San Diego, we listened to the Lakers game on the radio and sighed with every missed shot. I can’t believe this game, JD said as he shook his head. I can’t believe this day, I thought to myself. It’s hard to feel pitiful when there are so many who have much less. The next time I begin to make invitations to a pity party, I’ll be sure to leave my name off that list.


Blogger Lorenzo said...

So true a staement, how wealthy we are in so much more ways than the material realm we are bound!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Shyla said...

So glad to hear you made to home safe! I like your shots too!!! You did a good job of capturng the emotion! :)

11:35 PM  
Blogger One Blank Canvas said...

Jaz, that's so awesome that you do that... I've been praying that God would give me an outlet to use my gifts for him... Not just with photography but giving of myself. I find that it's these times that I grow the most.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me sigh with sadness. You see, my husband would never do something like this. I wish we could so something great together. He's to wrapped up in his I Phone. You have a great husband.

5:28 PM  

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