Saturday, January 23, 2010

Walking through the Door ...

“We are all friends here. There are no strangers once you walk inside that door.” That’s a lyric from a song we sing at church, but it can be true outside of church as well, if I let it.

I’m in Costa Rica, walking up the driveway to the street to deliver my bag of garbage. It’s 5:30 a.m. and the bag must be out before 6. It can’t be deposited the night before because, like anywhere, dogs will tear into it and scatter trash all over. The sun has already sent its scout rays over the mountains to the southeast, so I can see where I walk.

Some bags already line the street, and I drop mine there, too. That’s when I hear music coming from above. Workers at Hogar de Los Ancianos -- the old folks’ home that is the landmark to tell taxi drivers where we live – are listening, and so am I now. Instead of returning to my house, I head toward the lilting sound.

I keep walking. It’s Sabado (Saturday, or the Sabbath, because the Spanish language recognizes both days as times for resting in God; Sunday is Domingo) but people are beginning to emerge. I walk only half a mile, and I pass a half dozen people, some on their way to work, some just out. The panaderia, a new bakery that’s opened near our house since we were down here last, is brightly lit with owners in the kitchen, preparing to fill the neighborhood with a sweet and yeasty aroma.

When I do turn around and head back, I see our next-door neighbor, the one with whom we jammed last night, headed uphill with his garbage. We kiss each other on the cheek and he thanks me for last night’s dinner. I thank him for the music. “More to come,” he says, both of glorying in the fact that we will be here for a couple of more weeks.

“We are all friends here. There are no strangers once you walk inside that door.”

That door, mi amigo, is the world.