Aug 15 2011

Reflections from CFCA sponsor: Live slow enough

This is a guest post from Sandy Clingan Smith, who has been a CFCA sponsor since 2008.

She traveled to Guatemala this summer with the high school youth from her church, Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville, where she was thrilled to meet her sponsored child, Jacoba.

Sandy, center, is a marketing professional and lives with her husband and children Kasey, right, and Alex, left, in Brentwood, Tenn. Her refrigerator is filled with pictures of the four additional CFCA children they sponsored during the trip!

She will lead the church’s next trip to the CFCA Center in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, in 2014. Sandy blogs at

I’ve been back home just over a week now, and normal life creeps in with its own force.

Can I remember to eat simply, as the Mayans do? Can I remember the value of money ñ and how much hope that can provide in Guatemala? Can I remember to savor every moment and every encounter with another human being?

Today’s devotional reading focused on slowing down to actually be part of life! The crux is captured in this quote from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening (which I heartily recommend):

“… simply slow your thoughts to the pace of cracks widening, slow your heart to the pace of the earth soaking up rain, and wait for the freshness of the beginning to greet you …”

While that may feel very Zen, it spoke to my soul. This “sabbatical summer” has taught me the value of the tiny moments in life.

I find great joy from watching the hummingbird approach the feeder. I love being in the garden in the morning or late afternoon ñ to see the finches battle over their feeder or to the tomatoes beginning to ripen.

And the chance to spend quiet, little moments with Steve, Kasey and Alex.

That is the way I approached Guatemala ñ by accident. We were blessed with three great guides from CFCA who managed all the details. And the country around me was so foreign that I could give up my “need to be in charge.”

So I didn’t worry about our schedule. Instead I relaxed and opened myself to the experience. I reached out in love. I tried to speak my fractured Spanish, but truly communicated best with a smile.

I remember intentionally trying to look in the eyes of the people I met to connect as deeply as I could in a brief moment.

In doing so, I found myself in a very thin place. In the Celtic tradition, thin places are where the boundary between heaven and earth is very thin.

As a very intuitive person, that feels like a deep feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit. As I was surrounded by those lovely Guatemalans, I deeply felt the presence of God in this place.

Now, back home, it’s so easy to get caught up in the pressures of life.

My morning had not started auspiciously, but rather with the tedium of cleaning up after a dog and a coffeemaker that decided to overflow.

But the reminder to “live slow enough” was just what I needed to turn my day back around so I could focus on the small moments of grace.

And welcome rain has just come ñ needed rain. So now I must “slow my heart to the pace of the earth soaking up the rain.”

0 thoughts on “Reflections from CFCA sponsor: Live slow enough”

  1. Very inspirational! I hope to someday soon visit my sponsored child in Guatemala…and hope it will be as rewarding as your visit was.
    Nancy Maria

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