By Nina Hill, FC 18 Costa Rica
My first day at Manos Abiertas was my second time in a hospital. The first was when I was born, and I don’t have any lasting memories from that experience… Gracias a Dios. I was out of my element when one of the Hermanas called me in to a patient’s room. She chirped something in Spanish. Oh shoot, it was a question. Ummm think fast…
Whew I managed a response!! Oh no, what is she doing?? Is she handing me that child? She’s handing me that child. I’m not qualified for this…
I’ve had a lot of experiences like this that have scared me since I started working here in Costa Rica. I was scared when a bird fell from the powerlines right next to me on my way home one day. I (still) get scared when people strike up a conversation at the bus stop or when I have to ask for directions from a stranger. #introvert. I was scared my first day when Hermana Yentry handed me Gordita Bella, hooked up to machines and wailing, and told me to rock her until she fell asleep.
Even so, when Hermana Yentry asked me to hold la Gordita, she said something that I DID understand. No tengamiedo. That quickly became my mantra for this year. A few years ago, I started giving up something every year for a year. Often, I gave up meat or swearing or negativity, and sometimes these fasts lasted, but sometimes they did not. I came in to this year with ideas of what I wanted to give up, but as we’re always told before an experience like this, it’s impossible to expect what will come. My resolutions and fasts died away, but they were replaced with a new fast: a fast from fear. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing caution to the wind and being completely reckless here. Instead, I’m being aware of the things that make me scared, and I’m making a conscious effort to offer that fear up to God.
There’s no room for fear in my life right now. I’m too busy meeting people, making friends, practicing Spanish, and loving this crazy adventure to waste time being afraid.