Story Retreat

By Irene, Class of 2016 

It is true that we cannot forget the past, but we can overcome it.  Life is not only filled with failures, and not everyone around us will hurt us.  In order to move forward we must first fall and learn to rise up again, we learn to work hard for what we want and also to take advantage and value life.

The weekend of our “Story and Servant Leadership” retreat was definitely hard for all of us.  It is difficult or remember the things that hurt or shame us.  But we learned that as we bring these things – that for many years we have carried alone and that have hurt us – into the light we feel like a new person.  We also found that we really are brothers and sisters, the fact that we don’t share the same parents or blood does not indicate that we aren’t.  NPH is a family and we support each other, knowing we can count on one another.  Now, we have more confidence in ourselves and each other, and we know that we can overcome our pasts and achieve our goals.   

We often think that we are the only people suffering in the world, but we are wrong.  Others are also passing through difficult situations, and it helps to put ourselves in their shoes.  NPH has the good fortune to have wonderful people that make the program without doubt one of the best experiences, these people are trained to give us the information and tools that we need to build a better path.  Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos gives us the opportunities and helps us find our path to achieve our goals, it is now up to us to decide to stay on it.  

 

 

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El pasado no lo puedes olvidar es cierto, pero si superar. En la vida no solo fracasamos, y tampoco todas las personas que están a nuestro lado nos lastimas. Para llegar lejos hay que tener que caer primero y aprender a levantarse. Aprender que para lograr lo que deseas debes trabajar muy duro y sudar, de esa manera una aprovecha y valora las cosas de la vida.

El fin de semana que tuvimos el retiro sin duda fue duro para todos, es difícil recordar las cosas que nos duelen o que nos avergüenzan. Pero también aprendimos a que una vez que sacas de tu vida eso que por muchos años te ha lastimado y has cargado a lo largo de los años, te sientes una nueva persona, aprendimos que verdaderamente somos hermanos, el hecho de que no tengamos los mismos padres o misma sangre no quiere decir que no lo somos. NPH somos una sola familia y nos apoyamos unos a otros, sabemos que podemos contar entre nosotros mismos. Tenemos más confianza en cada uno de nosotros, estamos seguros que podemos lograr nuestras metas si verdaderamente lo deseamos y nos esforzamos.

Muchas veces creemos que somos los únicos que están sufriendo en el mundo, pero estamos equivocados. Otras personas han pasado por cosas más duras, uno debe ponerse en los zapatos del otro y asimilar la situación. NPH tiene la fortuna de contar con personas maravillosas que hacen que el programa sea sin duda una de las mejores experiencias por la que pasaras, cuenta con  personas capacitadas para darte la información y las herramientas necesarias para construir el mejor camino. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos nos dan las mejores oportunidades y el camino que te hará llegar a la meta. Depende de ti si decides seguirlo o cambias de rumbo.

Through Eyes That Have Cried

 “There are some things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”

“Hay muchas cosas que sólo pueden ser vistas a través de ojos que han llorado.” 

They are words from Monseñor Oscar Romero of El Salvador.  Standing in the church where he was martyred in 1980 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31115837), these words almost feel like an invitation.  Or perhaps a challenge.

Will you look?

Will you see?

Will you notice the pain and suffering and injustice around you?

Will you turn away?

Or, will you gaze through your tears?  And in the midst of your own pain and brokenness, find ways to engage with love and compassion?

It has become increasingly clear to me through my work with NPH that tears are sacred.  To be honored, rather than quickly wiped away or hidden.  As we have developed this program in Seattle over the past four years, the importance of accompanying our pequeños/as as they look at their life story has become central.  We are blessed with the space, time, and good people that allow this to happen to whatever extent each participant is able – we meet them where they are.

What is becoming clear is that this work, this hard and scary and beautiful work, is helping them make significant changes in their lives.  It can feel slow and painful, and there have been times when I have questioned it, worried about it, wondered if we were inviting harm rather than good.

And so when I read these words, they impacted me deeply – for I have seen the truth in them.  Through my tears, shed over my own brokenness and over the brokenness I witness in our kids, I have seen things I could not see before.  Tears that were held in for many years, when finally released and blessed – have brought deeper relationships and a new capacity to love.

Through their own tears, the pequeños/as have come to recognize a resilience and beauty that is stronger than they knew.  I have seen them realize their own ability to offer healing to each other and to others.  Through art and storytelling, they have seen each other and themselves in new ways, inviting them to personal growth and transformation and ultimately to a life in which they can better serve others because they know who they are and they know how to love well.

My recent trip to NPH El Salvador reminded me that change is possible and hope is with us.  I watched graduates of our Seattle program facilitate sessions for the younger pequeños/as, lead activities, answer questions, and participate in high level educational planning meetings.  They were both engaged and courageous and I felt so proud of them and hopeful for our future as an NPH family.

But perhaps my most precious hour with them was our first afternoon at NPH El Salvador as we sat together in rocking chairs in the shade outside the house.  How beautiful to have time for them to speak honestly and listen to each other about what is happening in their lives in their home countries.  Their integrity and love for each other and for NPH is beautiful.

As our Seattle program continues to grow, we must remember the importance of this deep personal work.  And that stepping into it ultimately empowers our kids to use their lives for the good of the world.

What change will they make?  Whose life might they save?  Where will they bring hope where before there was none?  We don’t yet know.  What I do know is that their willingness to look at the world through eyes that have cried makes them more compassionate, more authentic, and more humble leaders for a world that in desperate need of them.

-Kara King, Program Director