And so I was up to my next family: Eduardo, Angelica, and their two daughters Emily and Angelica. But also Adriana and Leidi, the two housekeepers, and Felipe, Leidi’s son.
What was supposed to be a stay of a few days turned into a week. I was in no particular hurry and I have to admit it was a very comfortable place to have a rest and do some writing. I didn’t have to think about anything. Leidi and Adriana were taking care of breakfast, lunch and supper, making my bed and cleaning the bedroom. Not being used to it, I sometimes felt a bit uncomfortable. Especially since I am not the tidiest person on earth.
I had interesting conversations with Angelica and Eduardo. Both of them are Christians and I was brought up developing an allergy to the words “God” and “religion”. Until I recently learned to distinguish both words, as well as “faith”, “belief” and “spirituality”. Since then, it has become a lot more easy to discuss with religious people about all those subjects, without being as critical and sceptical as I was before. It’s quite a fascinating thing, actually. And useful when in a country such as Colombia, where God is present in almost any act and sentence – even the buses belong to the Lord, here.
When you always hear about everyone trying to differentiate themselves in their religious practices, I see more similarities between all of them. They’re just slightly different ways to respond to the same preoccupations. Life, death, love, health, nature, the way people interact with each other, hate, violence, etc. As for the three main monotheist religions, without being an expert – I haven’t read the Bible, the Koran nor the Thora – it seems to me that the principles have mostly been ill interpreted. How can you talk about love and forgiveness if you’re not ready to love and “forgive” someone who has different beliefs than yours?
I myself became more spiritual and interested in God and religion the day I got interested in psychology and started to read Jung’s “Red Book”. God is very present in his writings, as well as oriental philosophy and practices. He invites to leave the rational aside and be more connected to the emotions, the instinct. To look deeper within yourself as a way to find “God” and the right answer to your questions to distinguish “good” from “bad”. When I started to do that, in the beginning against my better judgement – nowadays, we are mostly taught to be purely rational beings -, things started to go a lot better in my life. I just got more satisfaction out of it. I then realised that the conclusions I was coming to, the attitudes that were bringing me more well-being, were basically the same as many things that are said in the Bible and professed by Jesus. Jung therefore became my own Messiah and the Red Book, my Bible. The main difference I see between both books and approaches is that the first one invites you to discover the answers by yourself. The latter offers you ready made answers, which, as said previously, are prone to interpretation… or translation errors.
All this to explain why I enjoyed my discussions with them, finding a common ground for discussion where, only a few years ago, there would have been none.
They tried to convince me to have a better look at their religion, to consider Christianity myself. But I am too at ease with my view on things. I can talk about religion and God but I don’t want them into my life as such. Only some of their principles.
One day, Eduardo told me he had done an oration asking God to find a husband for me. Now, I have to confess I still doubt that’s the kind of thing you can just ask for and receive on a golden plate. And I’m more interested in finding “love” than “a husband”. But, in the end, as long as I love the husband God finds me, why not give it a try?
I thought I was on the right track, the day I went out for a walk on my own just outside the city centre of Vélez. I wasn’t sure I was going in the right direction, so I asked someone I met on the way. He was a farmer who had taken his cows downhill for them to graze. He confirmed my sense of orientation was doing great – for once – and, as I went along, he just came with me. He showed me the local school, then the beautiful view, and, finally, indicated where his house was, the green one a few hundred meters away. Probably in his early fifties, he was living there with his mother and his sister.
When I decided to go back, Ernesto kept on following me. We stopped at a house where a lady was selling lemonade, and he offered to buy me one. I could see how the few people passing by were looking at us. Vélez is not a very touristic village. Not a lot of Europeans or North Americans end up there. And even less outside the city centre. So seeing me there having a drink with Ernesto was probably an odd view for them. We still took a few steps together and then he took his leave. Not without asking me how long I was staying and if I would come back to the hill. And if I was ever coming back to Colombia. And if I could leave him a souvenir from my country.
When I got back home, Angelica and I discussed Ernesto’s potential as a husband. But with only seven cows in his possession, he got discarded by my friend as a candidate to the office. I might be more lucky at a next opportunity.