Let me be the first to fire a shot across my rather erratic bow.
I know I have spent the last year acting like a man who is uncertain where he should be. My trips -- almost circumnavigating the globe. Elegiac essays on the virtues of San Miguel de Allende. And Morelia. And Pátzcuaro. Houses to strum my heart strings.
And now. Something else.
Late last week, I received a slightly-dated New Frontier -- my Salvation Army newspaper. I usually flip through it quickly. But a headline on page 5 stopped my browsing. "Mission: Cuba."
A group of Canadian Salvationists has sent building teams to Cuba the last four years. But the details of the story were not what had attracted my attention. It was that headline.
In the spring of 2001, my law school alumnae association sponsored a trip to Cuba. It was one of those cultural-legal education trips that once attracted academics to countries on the east side of the iron curtain.
A Cuban friend of mine contacted a relative in Cuba -- a minor Communist Party functionary -- to ask him if he needed anything that I could bring along. Yes, he said. A Volkswagen muffler.
He then asked why an American was coming to Cuba. She told him -- for a law conference. "A law conference? In Cuba?," he laughed. "Isn't that a little like attending a chastity conference in Gomorrah?"
I knew I was going to like him.
I stuffed the muffler in my suitcase. A suitcase that contained only one change of clothes for me for my week stay. The rest of the suitcase was filled with Salvation Army uniforms that I smuggled to Havana -- the Castros were not very fond of the importation of any "clerical" garb.
In between my law conferences, I spent a good deal of time with the Salvation Army officers in Havana. The husband was the son of the officer at the Havana corps during and after the revolution.
A week was enough time for me to realize that I wanted to return to Havana to work with the Salvation Army. History had another idea.
Six months after my Cuba visit, terrorists leveled the World Trade towers, and the licenses to visit Cuba were almost completely closed off. When I retired, I looked into moving to Cuba. I could get there. But my money couldn't.
The Cuban Salvation Army has plenty of hands. What they need are funds to do their work. And the absurd embargo on Cuba keeps that from happening.
Instead, I came to Mexico. But that headline -- "Mission: Cuba" reminded me I once had a mission different than the one I am on now.
The Salvation Army is currently taking applications for its mission to Cuba in 2013. I would be interested in participating. There would be massive political problems to overcome -- not being a Canadian citizen, for instance. But I am going to give it a try.
And if this is not the trip, there will be others.
Something for me to include in my prayers this Sunday morning.