The boys had spent the whole day at Villa Linda Miller, working on digging out the trenches for the foundation of Roger’s house; I had only joined them after lunch. The blister on my thumb proved I had put in some work, shoveling dirt and rocks that Miguel had loosened with the pick-ax. I even took a turn wielding the pick-ax as well, but hit a big rock and sent the head spinning. Those of us still at the work site slowly came to a halt around 4 pm, all but Axelito who had spent a good block of time after lunch lazing around was still busy. I dug into my backpack, below my camera bag, and pulled out a fistful of fun-size Skittles packages. Handing a package to David who was standing in front of me, he quietly asked for all of them. I possessed a great treasure in my hands. Too tired to stand up and hand the Skittles to the others I started pitching them. David tried to intercept them but lack of height and the need to be wary of the trenches prevented him from snagging any but those that I threw at him. Spastic Miguel managed to snag most of them, but he was good at making sure others got their share, passing around what he caught. It perked people up a little, but not enough to get back to work.
Shortly after wards we packed up for the day, loading the tools into the two wheelbarrows and slowly trekked back to the medical clinic where the tools would be stored until the next day. Having stashed the tool we walked down to the soccer court where the guys stood behind one goal watching the current game and playing with a dead headless snake. The weight of my backpack and tired arms led me to find a place to sit. Taking a cue from the Micah boys I pulled out my Shuffle and stuffed my earphones loosely into my ears. Sitting on the stone step listening to Mercy Me I admired a nearby house that is painted pink and let my thoughts drift to imagining my life in a few more years living in VLM or nearby. Ideas of how to be part of the community, having weekly dinners for smaller groups of the boys, growing vegetables, using the pink house as a base designing my house and wondering if Juanca could build a trellis, I also decided I should have a dog. My reverie and name picking for my future dog was broken by Miguel and David coming to beg for more candy. Before I could reach through the layers to fish out more the rapidito van appeared and Roger and all the guys started piling in. Since none in the group spoke any usable English I had to take that as my cue that this was our transportation back into the city. “Henny-fair, aqui! Aqui!” Miguel yelled out from the back row of the van with a vigorous patting of the seat next to him. I wrangled myself and my bag into the back seat next to Miguel who is alternately very cool and ignores me or is overly affectionate. While he had been mostly ignoring me all afternoon, he suddenly turned affectionate when I sat down. Despite being hot and dirty he sat right up beside me and pulled my arm around his shoulders. It was actually helpful as I could grab the end of the bench seat and brace myself as we went over bumps and around corners. We sat there both with our own mp3 players going. It wasn’t long before Miguel became curious about what I was listening to. Picking up the earbud that I wasn’t using, he stuffed it into his ear. His face registered complete surprise. I don’t think he expected to hear what he did. My shuffle has all of my faster, more rock style music as I use it to keep my tempo up when working out. I can’t remember what song was playing at the time, but it was one of the more driving songs that I have loaded. I don’t know what kind of music he thought I would be listening to, but it certainly wasn’t what he heard. He took control of my Shuffle pressing fast-forward after listening to three or five seconds of a song. Miguel was surprised again when he came across songs from Los Micah Boys; he actually listened to half a song of theirs before hitting fast-forward again. His face was really quite amusing as my music tastes continued to surprise him as he sampled most of my music. But Miguel managed to surprise me as well. Since I use my shuffle to workout, not all of the songs are heart-thumpers, some songs are on there for cool-downs. One song is Hillsong’s “Stronger.” It has kind of been an anthem for the Micah house this year. Michael Miller had played it for me in August and I downloaded it shortly thereafter. To my surprise this is the song Miguel stopped on. At Micah they have been singing it in Spanish, my version is in English, but no matter. Miguel didn’t push fast-forward, we listened to the whole song from start to finish. I was quietly singing along, which elicited a broad grin from Miguel when he caught me and him moving an ear a little closer so that he could hear me as well. As soon as the song was over, he went back to his speedy fast-forwarding until it was time to get out of the van.
It may sound strange, maybe it is, maybe I’m making more out of it, but the fact that he wanted to listen to all of that song, that particular song, despite being in English, caused some “motherly” pride to well up in me. I would like to think that it shows some depth, some serious connection to his own spiritual life. It’s a song he knows well, he knows the words, it would have been easy to blow by it as ‘that old same familiar over-used song’ but he didn’t. I hope it means the words still have meaning and impact, are sinking in to the deeper conscious, helping him know and believe that God is stronger and capable of doing great things in his life, that Miguel is making Jesus Lord of his precious life.
You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen,
Jesus, You are Lord of all.