Last month we had an epic día communal – an “all swim” workday. Our accountants and cooks, engineers and warehouse workers, all traveled in buses to the Chosen Eye Clinic on the outskirts of Chinandega to help build, dig, mix, and move dirt for this soon to be state-of-the-art eye surgery clinic.
146 Amigos employees joined 27 clinic workers under a blazing sun. Music, water, and food was provided in abundance as a steady breeze whipped up the dust.
Our group began digging a 10 x 10-foot hole that was 12 feet deep to serve as a septic system. Like ants, we all took our spots, some using the pickaxe, some shovels, others carrying away buckets of dirt. A few strong, brave souls pushed loaded wheelbarrows of dirt from the hole to empty elsewhere.
Each time we encountered a huge rock, the team worked hard to pry it loose. In synchronized motion, men hoisted the boulders out, and others carried them to the pile. Cheers and claps erupted, and then the steady worked resumed.
However, the other rocks were worse, and not due to their size. The smaller rocks that littered the work area were the real menace. The wheelbarrows abruptly got stuck on them and slammed into thighs. People tripped and stumbled over these annoyances continuously. More than one ankle was wrenched.
Then it hit me. In life, it is the big rocks that get our focus. We might try to move them on our own, but we usually turn to family and friends to help us. Marriages, babies, losses, moving, deaths. Our family joins us as we lift and carry these kinds of stones.
But with the smaller stones, we tend to ignore them and stumble over them repeatedly. These are the ones that really “trip us up” in life. As I write this, I am painfully aware of what my little stones are. I am sure we all are. We keep trying to push the wheelbarrow of our lives past them and get banged up. We trip over them as we charge through our days.
And I thought, “Why?” Are we embarrassed that we are repeat offenders on these stones? Or are we just too stubborn and keep trying to do it all on our own? Why not allow someone to help us? To come give our wheelbarrow a gentle push over the rock, or pick up the stones that litter the path?
On this hot día communal, someone always lent a hand to push the wheelbarrow. Others helped move the small rocks that caused ankles to groan. And the work continued, as the music and dust danced together in the air.
Amigos is about walking alongside families and communities. If we just teach and talk, people might move some boulders, but it truly is the smaller stones that build up. How do I budget my money? How do I teach my children to wash their hands? Why is daily school attendance so important, and help me with my children’s motivation to go!? How can our community work together to form awesome committees when we are so different? It’s the slow, steady work of navigating the smaller obstacles that makes the path to the destination clear.
In Amigos, and all of life, we focus on not only helping each other with the big stones, but also the smaller ones as well. Let’s not be afraid to ask and offer. In this way, we not only bring about the kingdom for others, but for ourselves. Transformation one stone at a time.