I have a vivid memory of being told how inappropriate the phrase “those people” can be. Years ago, my friend Melanie was listening to me talk about “those people”, people from a different economic status, a different privilege status and often a different world. In pointing out how unfair and ugly my wording was, she helped me see biases that I’ve always had, but hadn’t seen clearly before that conversation. Words matter, and how we talk about others matters. Though I will likely struggle all my days to speak and think in a way that is respectful and fair to all people, that is a battle I will keep fighting because it is a worthy cause. And so it is with awareness that I have been weighed down recently by “those people.” Those people who are supporting racist and sexist views, speeches, and leaders; those people who use violence and surprise to show their moral superiority and leave death and darkness in their wake; those people who trash the name of Jesus Christ by claiming to be His church and then acting as though He wouldn’t have cared for the oppressed, stood alongside the marginalized, or turned away from opportunities to hate. Clearly I have a long way to go in fully understanding how similar I am to those people, and acknowledge that it’s still ugly to use that phrase. But in all honesty, those people have left me with a heavy heart this week, and I can only imagine the massive burden on the people of Afghanistan, Belgium, Syria, France, and every single community that has been ravaged by gun violence in the United States.
But, there are also those people who love. Specifically, there are those people who have known you since you were 15, walked with you through grand and embarrassing years and choices, and love you anyways. There are those people who travel the world and really engage with people, despite language barriers and cultural differences; who ask questions about the real issues in a country, share their laughter with anyone who has ears, and won’t stop exploring. There are those people who say they will visit and it is so exciting and intimidating, that when it goes well, you are slightly in awe.
My friend Bridget is one of those people, and we had the pleasure of her company in Chile for two weeks. We flew to the north to see the Atacama Desert, drove to the coast for a little beach time, headed south to enjoy a wine harvest and took tours like it was our job. It was exhausting and awesome. Blessings came in the form of avoiding airport disasters (I accidentally brought Jeff’s passport, but fortunately was allowed to board with my Chilean ID), perfect weather, and narrowly making every reservation we’d made. We are so grateful she came, and the memories we made will forever be highlights of our time here. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but if you ever need motivation to travel or someone to encourage you to brave that next big trip, I’ll put you in touch with my dear friend.
P.S. Jeff was stuck in Santiago for most of our travels, but he was sweet and supportive while managing his jealousy like a champ.