Seeing is believing...or at least that's what we're told. But I think a little differently. I think that feeling is believing. I've decided that I don't see the Campo in my everyday life. I feel it. I feel the Campo all around me. I feel it in the simplest of things; a laugh, a smile, a song, conversations with friends or family. After returning from the Campo, as I was slowly coming down from my "campo high", I realized that I had felt something that I never wanted to stop feeling. I didn't want to come down from that high. I felt more love in 10 days from a town of strangers than I had in my life. I felt happy. Completely and utterly happy. Not the kind of happiness that comes only when exciting things happen, but the kind that won't leave, even when the possibility for happiness seems out of reach. I had never felt more like myself. I didn't have to hide, or try to fit in. I could just be. Be happy, be quirky, be positive...and the ability to just be, introduced me to me.
Each year, my family and I find families in need and adopt them. This year we adopted a family of four who was living out of their car. When we arrived at their temporary home, I was immediately taken back to the Campo. In my mind, their small one room house instantly became dirt floored and wooden framed. The family was so happy that we had come to bring them just a couple of things. To us, it was a small act, but to them, it meant the world. Their faces screamed gratitude, and that day I realized that the Campo opened the door to a passion I didn't know I possessed. A passion for serving others.
I've said before that I found who I want to be up in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, and that couldn't be more true. This jumble of feelings I experienced in the short time I spent in the mountains that summer changed my perspective. My perspective on life. My perspective on people. It changed the way I went about every situation I came across, whether positive or negative. It taught me to appreciate the little things because they are, in fact, the big things. It brought to light the blessings I have, and it taught me to appreciate them while I have them. While I strive to find the Campo in everyday life, I am counting down the days until I can be back in my favorite place pursuing my passion.