As I was thinking about what to write about for my first real reflection about my trip to Peru, I decided to cash in on mini-joke between me and James, the first person I met in Peru. At the end of the trip, while we were waiting for my taxi to the airport, he asked me what I was going to write about when I got home. I looked him square in the eyes and said “YOU.” We both laughed but little did he know I would deliver.
I met James on my first morning in Peru, when he sat down at the breakfast table with Kinlen, Wake and me. Kinlen had just told me that the fireworks that were still being set off that morning had been from the Friendship Festival the night before. Fortuitous? I think not.
There is something easy about being friends with James…like, we’ve always been friends, and this wasn’t the first time I had met him, only the most recent time I had seen him again. We shared a sort of inside joke in that way.
All jokes aside, the more I learned about James and his life, the more I saw myself. Without violating his trust, I will just say that we both understand the terrible meaning of “extreme grief.”
Reflecting on my own experiences with grief, I know that the relationship we create with ourselves when we heal our deepest and most powerful pain is the most powerful thing we have to hold on to when sadness visits us again.
However, the experience of being present as someone energetically worked through their grief reminded me of what I bring to this world. I bring the ability to know darkness, while bringing light. I bring the reminder that laughing is as powerful as crying. I am living proof that extreme grief can be transformed into extreme joy.