Cyl on shore in Tarifa Africa in background — 4-17 Each morning as part of my meditation and prayer time I read the daily affirmation in the Daily Word. It often seems to be just what I need at that moment, but the perfect fit of last Sunday’s message was over the top.
I honor and celebrate all humankind. The myriad uniqueness of humankind is to be honored and celebrated. Each and every person is a creation of God. I pray that all people everywhere find the freedom to live life who they are and as they are. Learning about people far and wide, I immerse myself in the wholeness of life, a concept that nurtures inclusiveness.
We honor our individual practices, languages, or heritages. Learning about the life experiences of others is an opportunity for all of us to learn. …
This was especially perfect because I read these words in the breakfast area of a hotel in in Southern Spain. I speak only a little Spanish and what I do is more “Spanglish” than actual Spanish — I can forget making heads or tails of anything if people are speaking fast. “Mas lento por favor” (more slowly please) is one of my most frequent phrases.
The Daily Word reading really struck home with me at that moment because I was just about to leave the hotel by myself to try to get to Tarifa, a much more remote region, and I hadn’t heard from my colleague there. I didn’t know if I would be able to make contact with him. To be honest I was a little nervous because the area is very close to the Middle East, had a large and visible Muslim population and I was a white, American woman travelling solo. Both Spain and Morocco are on the U.S. terrorism caution list.
Tuning into my nervousness, I reflected on the Daily Word message and decided to just sit a moment and listen to the purr of the foreign language without trying to understand it. I focused on each individual person in the hotel lobby, seeing them as just another human being dealing as best they could with travel and logistics and fussy children.
I’ve had a lifelong dream to get to Africa and this was my chance to at least see the shoreline of the continent. I decided to take a risk and trust. Just as I was walking out the front door of the hotel I got a text from my colleague. He would meet me in Tarifa!
What transpired next was one of the most magical travel days I’ve ever experienced. I had a lovely, deep conversation (blending several languages) over a beer in the bus stop with a dark-skinned man from Morocco. I laughed with women wearing burkas.
I arrived on the southern-most tip of Europe and just across the straight of Gibraltar I saw Africa!
I was given an amazing tour of Tarifa and my colleague’s wonderful eco-village and center (more on that in later post). He and other new friends treated me to a fabulous meal at the eco-center’s restaurant. He got buried by business at the restaurant so yet another new friend rushed me back to the bus stop half an hour away with ten minutes to spare to catch the last late night bus back to the city.
On the long, late night bus ride back to the city, in the soft darkness I listened to the murmer of quiet speech and muffled snoring. Laughter, kindness, hugs and humanity know no language barriers. Grateful for the courage to leap into the unknown and not screw up the day by making plans!