Last night on the beach
We are coming to the end of Spring semester with our small group. Lately it seems like the theme continues to be service.
You would think it’s obvious, but I’m finding that it’s not; the main and hardest thing in marriage is to serve your spouse. Last night in group we talked about internal versus external beauty. One of the girls commented that she felt ugly on the inside all the time right now, and the rest of the girls agreed that they felt that way too. Selfish, angry, full of resentment… These were just a few of the words she mentioned.
What I have found to be true is that everyone who is married experiences this at some point. For us, it was especially difficult the first few months we were married. You never really realize just how selfish you are until you are sharing your life with someone 24/7. For 21 years, everything I did was all about me. And suddenly, with a piece of paper and a ring on my finger, all that was just supposed to change. Huh?!
The question I needed to ask and have answered was how do I serve my spouse? How can I make him feel loved? And on the flip side, what about me? Is he going to be selfless too? Is he going to know how to serve me, too?
One resource that helped tremendously was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. We read through the couples version of the book for our premarital class. We discovered that my love languages are quality time and physical touch, while his are acts of service and words of affirmation. What tends to happen, is the love language that you crave is the one that you try to do for your spouse. So I would always try to rub his back, be affectionate, etc. and he would try to fix a drink or clean for me. Clearly, neither of our love tanks were full and we would end up being frustrated with one another and retreat to our selfish selves.
We have both learned, through many talks with each other and with our mentors (a married couple a few years ahead of us that have been so kind to pour into our marriage), is that we each need the mindset to “out-serve” the other. This could be anything from housework to cooking to time in the bedroom. With the mindset of Christ to love others more than ourselves, it is much “easier” to serve. I put that in quotes because I don’t think that serving is easy. I think that a willing heart and the mind of Christ can help make serving our spouse less difficult.
But then what about me? How do I know that he isn’t going to still be selfish and here I am trying to serve him? Is he just going to take advantage of me? I have to trust that he loves me and cares for me enough to serve me also. I know this is not case with every marriage. And it is also not something that will change overnight. I know that God works everything together for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28).
If this is something that you are struggling with in your marriage, begin to pray that God would use your service to change your spouse’s heart. In Matthew 7:9-11 it says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Just begin to ask the Father for your spouse’s heart.
Every single day I have an opportunity to serve Marco. It’s a verb. It requires action and intentionality. The easiest thing is to be selfish, to only worry about me and leave him to fend for himself. Marriage calls us to care more for another than for yourself. It is daily sacrifice, daily mutual submission. I wouldn’t say that we have it won, but I would say that the days we get it right are oh, so sweet.
As you might have guessed, we are home and back into a busy “routine.” No two weeks are ever the same, so I have a hard time using the word “routine.”
Small group is in full swing; we have 9 couples, including ourselves, and we are just loving time together every week. It’s like a big family where all your brothers and sisters are in the same place in life as you. God definitely hand-picked our group, and we couldn’t be more grateful. The book we are going through is called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It’s about changing your perspective and seeing marriage as a tool to get closer to God. If you are married and you haven’t read it, you should. It’s basically awesome.
The chapter we are covering this week is about prayer. Coincidentally (ha! like there’s coincidence with God), Marco’s J-Men group covered prayer as well last night. When we were talking after he got home, he said something that really struck me. The speaker they had last night told a story about his 16-month old grandson. He said that the kid is either sleeping, or running hard-core all the time. He tries to hold him, and he can’t because the baby is just wiggling and wants to be busy, on the move. The speaker said, “I would just love it, if for only five minutes, he would be still and just let me hold him and love on him.” Wow. How often is this the case between us and God?
In our busy lives, prayer or quiet time with God is usually an afterthought. It’s something we “have” to do before we go to sleep at night, or something we “need” to do when we are in a hard situation. But taking separate time out of the day to just sit, and be still with God is nearly a foreign idea in this culture. All he wants is just a few minutes where we aren’t doing anything else, but being with Him. Soaking in His presence. Letting Him hold us.
I was challenged by this. I want that, so much, to be a part of my day. How would my life be different if I had been doing this all along? I just wanted to share this because I think it is something that resonates within every person.
It is not possible for another human to reach and alleviate the spiritual ache that God has placed in all of us. -Sacred Marriage
After staying up late packing, we had to wake up at 6am on our last day, because that was the day that Marco’s dad was taking me to surgery with him. He is an internal medicine surgeon, and does everything from abdominal surgery to thyroid removal. It hadn’t worked out for me to go until our very last day. We had to be at the airport at 11am.
We got up and headed to the hospital. Marco dropped me off and then went back to the house to finish the last minute packing (ya know, that you can’t do until you are actually leaving). This was unlike any hospital I had ever seen. I felt like I stepped into a time machine when I walked through the front door. Earlier on this blog, I posted a picture of a big, blue, shining hospital building – that is not where I went. I went to another one, in another part of town. First of all, it was open-air on the inside. There was a big courtyard with trees growing in the middle. Second, everything in it was about 50-60 years old. Think, World War II – the beds, the equipment, the chairs, the floors. It was all so old. I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect that. I went with Marco’s dad as he went to check on each of his patients before preparing for surgery.
After changing into scrubs, we went to the area where the operating rooms were. There were four of them, and two were being used. In the first one, there was a thyroid patient who had a benign tumor that was going to be removed. In the second, there was an inguinal hernia that needed to be removed. Right before we scrubbed in, Marco’s dad told me that I would be helping with the surgery; he was going to ask me to cut and things like that. Now, as a nurse, the patients I have are either medically sick, or are waiting for surgery or returning from surgery. The only times I have ever been in the operating room was in high school, I observed a partial mastectomy, and as a student nurse observing a heart surgery and a C-Section. Never have I ever had to actually touch the patient being operated on. Boy, was I excited!
We were going to the inguinal hernia first. The OR techs prepped the patient with the sterile drapes while we gowned and gloved. There I was, head-to-toe sterile and hot as anything with just an old wall unit for a/c. Marco’s dad has a third-year resident that does pretty much all of the surgeries while he guides and supervises her. She began to cut on the patient, and eventually they had me hold a trochar to help pull the skin back so they could see. Meanwhile, I was getting hotter and hotter. Suddenly, my ears started ringing, my vision got fuzzy and I said, “I need to sit.” Next thing I know someone guided me into a chair and I was sweating profusely from head to toe. How embarrassing. I nearly fainted onto the operating table. Needless to say, I didn’t really get to see the rest of that surgery.
Between surgeries, I was able to get a Coke and relax a little bit. I couldn’t believe I fainted. Blood and guts don’t bother me at all; but for whatever reason they did that day. After a few minutes, Marco’s dad came and got me for the next surgery. This one, I just watched. That was probably a good idea. ;-P It was the thyroid removal, and was really cool to see. I have a lot of thyroidectomy patients at work, so it was neat to see what they go through before I receive them on my floor.
Before it was over, however, I had to go change and Marco was going to pick me up so we could get to the airport on time. We boarded the plane at 2pm and soon we were on our way.
We landed in Atlanta at exactly 6:28pm. We went through Customs and Immigration, got our bags, and soon we were met by my parents and on our way home. Jackson and Lola were already here to greet us! 🙂
We had a long, good trip. I learned so much not only about Honduras and the culture, but about Marco and his family. I look forward to the next trip! But for now I have a ton of pictures, a ton of memories, and a ton of unpacking to do!
Check Facebook for the rest of the pictures!
On day 15, we went to Santa Lucia to play basketball with Marco’s dad. He used to play semi-pro in Honduras when we was younger. He hadn’t touched a ball in 5 years, and he still beat both of us!
Rex and Kobi kept us company too. They are pretty awesome.
On the way home, we saw a motorcycle with FOUR people on it. Insane. You would never see that in the states.
The next day, day 16, was our last full day in Honduras. We spent the day running errands and getting some last minute things done before we had to pack everything up and head home. First Marco got his hair cut. A lot of the small businesses here, like salons, lock their door during business hours and just open it when a customer approaches.
Later, on the way to the mall, I was able to catch a picture of some local policemen.
Pretty much every policeman or security guard carried this size gun or larger. In general, the locals just avoid the police if at all possible because many of them are corrupt. With no real traffic laws, if someone got pulled over by a policeman they would just bargain with them and ask if they could just give the policeman the money for the ticket instead of going all the way across town to pay. Obviously, this is what happens much of the time.
Once at the mall, we just HAD to get some refreshments. 🙂
After we got the few things we needed, we headed over to El Patio for dinner. Out of every place we ate, that was my favorite. I had the Conquistador (filet) again. Yum!
Dinner was scrumptious, of course. Then we went to say goodbye to Marco’s grandparents, and headed to pack our things after that. We were up til about 1am, and had an early morning the next day.
There is a lot to tell about the last few days! It has been really hard to sit and upload the pics and update everyone because we have been so busy! I at least wanted to get the pictures up tonight. I am hoping to have wifi access tomorrow so i can better update about the events since we left Roatán. Enjoy the pictures!!
We had a super long drive back to Tegucigalpa from La Ceiba. We were passing by the lake (Lake Yojoboa) around 10pm and needed to eat dinner. There was a little place called Las Marias #3 that we stopped to eat at. They had a huge freezer full of fish and we got to choose ours. These are tilapia from the lake. Probably the most delicious and fresh tasting tilapia I’ve ever had!
Once we got back (1am), we crashed. We were so sleepy and had travelled the entire day. The next morning, Marco, Maribel, and I went to this bakery about a block from Maribel’s house to get some breakfast. Every single bread I’ve had in Honduras is just amazing. Most are made to go with coffee. What more could this girl ask for??
Later that day we went to see Marco’s dad’s wood shop. He produces SUPER nice wood furniture, pictures, doors, etc. This stuff was seriously incredible.
This particular door is all one piece.
Marco’s dad has pigs and goats and dogs at the wood shop. The pigs were intended for Christmas dinner one year, but when it came down to it, he just couldn’t cook ’em and eat ’em. So now he has pigs! 🙂
The goats were intended to eat the grass so they wouldn’t have to worry about cutting. Now, those two goats eat everything else and poop all over the grass. HA! 😛
The next day, we went to visit Tio Coki’s farm. This was a looong drive on very rough, mountainous roads. It took about an hour to get there. But when we arrived, it was so worth it.
Coki grows beans, mainly. He has a few small crops of plantains, cilantro, broccoli, cucumbers, and things like that. But he definitely has the most beans. All the rows of green in these pictures, are beans.
The rows that are yellow at the bottom of the picture are beans that are ready to be harvested. The plant fully matures, then dies, and rests for 3 days. After the 3 days, the beans must be harvested BY HAND. He has only had this farm for about 4 months. Can you imagine all the hard work that has been done?!
In the morning, we went on a caminata, or a walk, to see more of the island of Roatán. The whole thing was about a mile, and the girl in charge of guest relations at the hotel was our guide. She took us to a place called Keyhole Bay. There were huge cliffs of coral and a beautiful, unobstructed view of the Caribbean Sea. The water is crystal clear, like glass. You can see straight to the bottom most places that you look, even in deep water. After our walk, we went snorkeling and on a tour of the island.
All day long there are local islanders walking up and down the beach, trying to sell goods, tours, or service. Some perform for tips. Tourism is pretty much the only source of income for Roatán. If these people don’t sell, they don’t eat. This is a hard concept for most of us, since we have what we need.
We ended up purchasing the tour of the island and snorkling (2hrs total) for about $100 for 4 of us from a nice, honest local guy. We are working on putting together a video; we saw part of a dolphin show too. Marco got some really cool video with our underwater camera (BEST purchase for the trip!).
At the end of the day, we came back to relax at the awesome hotel pool. They have some iguanas that reside nearby, and we got some cool pictures of them, too.
There are lots of pictures! After we ate lunch today, we took a quick nap then headed to the beach for the rest of the day. It is by far the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. Some highlights: our stay here at the Mayan Princess is all-inclusive, which means food and drinks to our hearts’ content (no hauling a cooler to the beach!) AND they have servers periodically come and ask you if you need anything. It’s awesome. Also, the water is super clear and Honduras is home to the second largest coral reef in the world. We walked down the beach about a half-mile from where we are staying and got to see a ton of fish and some coral. Today I fell in love with Roatán. We are hoping to maybe go out and see some more tomorrow morning.
The hotel had live music tonight by a local entertainer, so after dinner we sat and listened to him. Now we are hoping to get some good rest for a full day tomorrow! Waayyy too many hours with very little sleep. Goodnight!
More to come!
** Edit: We got to the port for the ferry to Roatán around 8:20am and waited to board until 9:30am. We didn’t actually leave port until almost 10:30am. The ride was fast and we were hitting tons of big waves. It took about an hour to arrive at Roatán’s port. We picked up our bags and found the bus driver to take us to the Mayan Princess. This is the nicest hotel in all of the island. We scored an awesome package deal that includes the ferry ride to and from, all meals and drinks, special club access and the actual hotel stay. When we arrived at the hotel (after what seemed like an eternity of driving), the staff had yummy juice drinks waiting to welcome us. I am blown away by the beauty not only of the island but of where we are staying. I am hoping to post some pictures of that tomorrow.**