Tuesday, June 30, 2009
offering and accepting a hand
And here ends my list of factors for choosing a place to live in Mexico.
I should have not left these two factors until the end because they certainly are not the least important:
Factor #12 -- offering help to others graciously
Factor #13 -- accepting help from others
I credit my mother and grandmother for teaching me the underlying truth of the Biblical assertion "it is more blessed to give than to receive."
Keeping excess leads to greed. Giving beyond our excess teaches us that there are values higher than the material. Giving out of love, rather than compulsion, honors the humanity of others.
The easiest way to turn a truth into a cliché is to write about it, rather than to take action.
One thing I knew I would miss in Mexico was my relationship with the Salvation Army. As an organization, it embodied the truths I learned from my mother and grandmother.
The Salvation Army is active in Mexico, but the closest corps to Melaque is in Puerto Vallarta -- a four drive away, one way. There is no possibility of being as active there as I was in Salem.
As an alternative, I have already found local organizations (including the church I attend) that offer assistance to the community. And I will be active in those groups.
But I wanted to spend most of the space for this post on that second factor: accepting help from others.
I added it at the request of a former work colleague, who has gone through some big changes in his life. He told me that the most important lesson he learned is that, when you go through troubles, there are always people willing to help. The trick is to accept that help.
He knows me well. Like him, I have been taught to suck up trouble and get on with your life.
The result is that we end up isolating ourselves from people who are ready to give us a helping hand. Sometimes, just a hand of encouragement.
When I originally put that factor on the list, I was not certain how it would apply to Melaque.
I now do.
During the past two months, I went through one major "move crisis" when Jiggs was starting to fade because of the trip south. I honestly wondered f I had made the correct decision -- to move to Melaque, to move to Mexico.
I ended up receiving help from a source I would not have anticipated two years ago. A number of readers posted comments or sent me email that may have not taken much time to write, but the sentiment made all the difference to me.
Several of you have made similar observations in the past. When you try to explain how close you have become to people who are the equivalent of electronic strangers, most people react with indulgence or bewilderment.
All I can say is thank you. Because of you, this trip south is turning out to be the time of my life. When I was in need, you offered a hand, and I accepted it.
And that has made all the difference.
So, there they are: the 13 factors. How do they add up? Was Melaque a wise choice? Should I choose another spot?
My conclusions will soon follow. Yours are more than welcome.