Missing You, Babe

The delegation had spent a great week together. It was easy for me to serve as tour guide for it was a spunky group of guitar-toting, song-loving, eager-to-learn Spanish and ask-a-ton-of questions folks who are committed to beginning their new relationship in El Salvador in a spirit of accompaniment. We were spending our last day sitting and listening and talking with a woman whose husband had been killed in an act of violence on a bus outside of Aguilares before sharing lunch with her pastor and visiting Cihuatán.

At some point, we were squeezed into the too-small van - I was sandwiched between two guys in the very back, bumping along the road, and listening to our driver Luis' MP3 collection of classic 90's tunes in English. Of course, the guitar-toting, song-loving group was doing a lot more singing than listening. Singing the songs from proms and college days brought back fun memories which many in the group had in common, and helped to keep the spirit of joy alive as folks processed the hard moments of the day.

That juxtaposition of joy and sadness, although present in every day of our lives as human beings, rips into my day and shoves me off-balance when I am in El Salvador. As I was chatting and laughing and bumping along in the back seat of that van, the simple lyrics of a song, sung with great gusto and laughter by a group of travelers, sliced into the moment and pierced my spirit...

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure

I could feel my heart being squeezed. I could hear his teenage voice, reciting these words as they were written on the page of a spiral notebook. He was learning English. He was proud to be able to read these words to me and my friend. He was reading these romantic words to two middle-aged ladies who he had only known for three days without any embarrassment.

Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you babe
And I don't want to miss a thing

But you are asleep. You are missing out on your life. Your wife is lost without you. Your daughter is growing up without knowing you. Your mother has nightmares about the night you were murdered. Your father cannot find peace.

Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you babe
And I don't want to miss a thing

We dream of you. We miss your dimples and your smile. We miss the boy you were and the young man you had become. We still eat at the table where you ate. We still sleep in the place where you slept. We love and play with your daughter. We care for your mom and dad. We hold your photo to our hearts and hear your voice in our ears.

The song went on. I was quiet and teary. I am thankful that I could share a little bit about my young friend's story with my new traveling friends. They are building new relationships in El Salvador. Their hearts are full. At moments, their hearts will be broken.


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