Guatemala 2016 | Strength from Silence

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 1.49.01 PM“If you want to work for justice, first get on your knees.” Paul Nemecek

As suggested by the above quote from one of our first discussions of the trip, here in Guatemala, the tension in paradox continues.

Our first several days in Guatemala City were full, as we witnessed hard stories countered by glimpses of hope from people who work tirelessly for justice and dignity for those who are often without a voice. Then, traveling west to Antigua, we were greeted by the beautiful mountains and colorful architecture of this peaceful yet bustling town. We continued our verbal explorations of the tensions of poverty and wealth and were now faced with tangible images- both in our recent memory of the Guatemala City dump and in our current field of vision where indigenous street merchants walk beside tourists with money to spend. As our minds and spirits headed toward overload, pondering all the possible “action” steps, our bodies were directed to join our wise leaders for a quiet afternoon historical stroll around this quaint town.

image1We walked along the cobblestone streets, visiting a few of the many convents and churches, and the quietness of our conversations and movements began to provide a little of the rest and peace we needed. We ended the afternoon among the beautiful grounds of the San Francisco church and adjacent monastery, in the stillness of the ancient ruins filled with simple greenery dotted with splashes of color. The rest, reflection and silence of the afternoon was a much needed contrast to the emotionally charged previous days spent amidst great suffering and action-oriented guests and field trips. I began to understand in a deeper way, with this new image, the vital and intertwined roles that stillness/contemplation and action/social justice play, each providing both the strength for and the necessity of the other. As I watched the afternoon light peeking through the clouds above the mountains, the prophet Isaiah’s words seemed to whisper in my ear, reminding me this connection is not a new one and is one that can be trusted:
“…in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

DawnBioPicDawn is a 40-something recovering control-freak who is encouraged by encouraging others. She works “super part-time” as a Pediatrician and is passionate about exploring the intersection of mental, relational, spiritual, nutritional, social, emotional and physical health to bring holistic health to people. She and her husband Pete love hiking, camping, coffee and adventures of all kinds and along with their two pups Sam and Frodo, recently moved from the beautiful Pac NW to VA. She occasionally writes about life at: