“Blessings and miracles often arrive disguised as insurmountable problems.”
Did you ever have one of those haunted house nightmares where safety is behind the door at the end of hall; but with each desperate step you take, it seems to move farther and farther away? This was kind of like that. Instead of a hallway door, I was looking for the end of a narrow truck container, where the removal of every row of boxes revealed yet another row… and another… and another!
So, there we were. A sixty-foot container of plantains parked in front of us, three blocks away from their final destination. That would be 40,000 pounds of plantains that needed to be unloaded and moved to our garage. My 62-year-old father in law, my teenaged brother in law, Yesenia and I looked at each other. No one said a word. My brain immediately sent a message to my back to start hurting. This was going to be a long day.
We received the call just one day earlier. “We are sending you a container of plantains.” Yesenia asked how many boxes were in a container. Apparently, the caller misunderstood the question because she said, “fifty”, which is actually the number of pounds of plantains in each box. So, there we were.
Then the miracle started. Over time, dozens of our neighbors and friends joined us in our “Great Plantain Adventure”. Two pickup trucks shuttled boxes back and forth. Chains of men and women, young and old, passed the goods out of the truck onto the street and then into the vehicles. As the sun went down, there we were. Smiling at the 800 boxes of fresh plantains stacked seven-high that filled two bays of the church garage.
Today, I can happily report that along with our feeding program, we shared our plantains with hundreds of Ciudad de Refugio church members and our La Cuchilla neighbors. Brothers and sisters from a dozen poorer churches and various charitable groups throughout Guatemala City benefitted from our fortune; and kids in several schools and feeding programs around the area also enjoyed free plantains this week. The huge truck that initially looked like a nightmare of pain and suffering to me instead brought a community together for a while and provided blessings for thousands of needy people. And there we are.
It’s so easy to dwell on the negatives of situations. Certainly there was a bit of pain involved. I’m still tossing ibuprofen down with each meal and my blistered fingers are a constant reminder of how silly it is to unload so many cardboard boxes without gloves. But there are lots of smiling faces around the neighborhood. Many kids and their parents absorbed plantain-produced vitamins, protein and fiber they would not have otherwise received this week. So here I am, happily acknowledging that it was totally worth it.
The quote above played in my head a lot during this episode. I’m reminded that there are no insurmountable problems when we work with God at our sides; only opportunities, blessings and miracles. Life is good.
I can’t wait for the next truck to arrive.