Several weeks have now passed since returning back from Guatemala, a trip that truly changed my life forever. Upon returning I had a goal of writing my perspective of this trip and just like that life rushes back in and here we are almost a month later.
Without even a moment to reflect my feelings I’m right back to where I started… in the hustle and bustle of what most of us call normal everyday life. The fast passed lifestyle most have come to know as part of that American Dream. But just like that I can remove myself from it all and get back to basics.
We had been planning, fundraising and preparing for this trip for months. It all started back last fall when we visiting C&I Studios Guatemala tribute during an ARTWALK. They were sharing photographs and stories of those they touched during their recent mission trip. This instantly inspired us to join in and do what we can to bring what we love, ART, to those who may not have it otherwise.
That evening was the inspiration for helium inspires, helium creatives non-profit. A way for us to do our part to share the arts, creativity and the joys that comes from it, with those who may not otherwise experience it. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to be creative and we all first-hand understand and appreciate the importance of fostering and nurturing your creativity. We are pleased to be able to do our small part of sharing what we love. We came together as family, worked together as a team, bringing happiness to each of us and allowed us all to see through our hearts and not our eyes.
So now that you know a little background, let’s go back to Guatemala. The morning of the 24th of May we arrived in MIA and met up with those from C&I that would be joining on our first mission trip. 14 strong we gathered our belongings as they called us for boarding. Arriving in Guatemala we were instantly transported out of what we know and into a place most of us had ever experienced.
I don’t think any amount of traveling truly prepares you for the unique experience you encounter arriving in a new destination and that was certainly the case here. We were all the same, however our surroundings had completely changed and this was just the beginning.
We quickly got to experience exactly why we were here and the importance of opening our hearts and sharing with others. Our first visit was to an orphanage where most will call home for the rest of their lives. This was the first of the many humbling experiences; in that instant I was reminded of the simplicities in life and how things can be taken for granted. We think we need all of these possessions to be happy and here these children have all they could need. They had a stable home and the love and support that this home provides and just like that I was reminded of what is truly important. To most in the states they would say they have nothing, for them they had it all!
They were just as eager to learn from as we were of them. There may have been a language barrier but we all communicated just fine through sharing our passion. You should have seen their eyes light up as we brought out the art supplies and they began to paint and draw. Instantly nothing else mattered, the stresses back home, the hustle and bustle was gone and we were all the same. We were all being creative and sharing in a moment regardless of our background. We got to share what we love and in turn have it shared back to us through their eyes, which was just as inspiring.
The next day we made our way to Chiquimula, a small town 4 hours from Guatemala City where we met with a local mission that provided hope and support for so many. Our first day we met with families whose faces were glowing and their smiles from ear to ear confirmed what I had already learned. They are truly happy and there is so much we can learn from them.
The following day we had the privilege of visiting their homes in the mountain behind the mission. These were homes that are much different from what we think of, however they had so much more. They had true happiness, love and support. They didn’t need all of the extras we find necessity. They cherished what they had and took great care of everything they owned. It wasn’t a matter of what they didn’t have but rather what they do have, and what they have is so truly a lot! A humbling reminder of what we so easily forget… we come to believe that these things bring happiness and here in the midst of homes much different from ours I was reminded again of what is truly most important.
They may not have all of the things we feel are important and bring happiness, but what they did have is so much more than most of us have. They have happiness, love, family and community based on who they are and not what they have.
I can only hope that this experience can be a reminder for myself of what happiness truly is. It is the experiences, the love, family and community based on relationships and being there for others… It’s not the things that make us happy. The stress, hustle and bustle is all a result of this belief we have all so commonly taken on as a way of being happy.
For me I will carry these memories with me and can only hope that the humbling knowledge I was reminded remains with me. And here I thought we were going to be the ones inspiring those we met, instead we have all been inspired and will take with us memories for years to come.
If there is one thing I wish is that our time with the children, families and friends we met was as inspiring to them as it was for me. I hope that the creative inspiration helps them grow, follow and believe in whatever they want to be. I look forward to our next trip and can only hope to gain as much from each to come as I did from this one. Thank you Guatemala and thank you to all who have touched my heart and allowed me to view the world a little differently, if only for a moment.
P.S. From a helium standpoint and moment that I will cherish was the day we were visiting the homes in the mountains and noticed something very familiar. Amongst their belongings and prominently displayed was something we had brought, a helium inspires pin. For me that was a reminder of the dual impact we made and just how important the mission trip was for all.