Giving Options

Breaking the Rules

I wrote this back in September 2013 but did not post it until now.

Sixty degrees and a walk to the grocery store reminded me of all the rules I had almost forgotten. Don't wave at people in the neighborhood unless it is neighbors we know well. For Pete's sake don't pet the street dogs or even someone's pooch loose on the street. They bite! I passed a woman on the sidewalk. Don't look at her and don't smile at her. Don't speak. Ok, I broke some of the rules. With the sun so brilliant and a cool breeze how could I not say "hello". I am sure she thought I was a tourist.

It's these rules that always bother me here. It's these rules that make me sigh a relief when we get back to the US and the cashiers say, "My pleasure!" I know they don't always mean it but it does make me want to behave in such a way that they feel like it is a pleasure to serve me. Niceness breeds niceness. I won't spiritualize such cultural customs, but it does make it harder to walk in love with those around us if you never make eye contact or greet anyone. For a country that values relationships above all, Chile is fraught with ways to avoid them.

Tomorrow we head to a good asado with the Castro family. We will grill some good cuts of meat, take the day to prepare salads together and sit in the sunshine talking about the lifetime they have lived while we were gone four months. The conversation will include things we have prayed about these ten years. Their marriage is making progress and Aquiles led his dying sister to Christ. From the graveyard where broken marriages are the rule, never has it felt so good to break rules!!

Laura Dye

Giving Options