Reflections on “The Book of Mev” from Cochabamba by Kate Raymond

Dear Mark,

I return to the United States on December 15th and will spend the holidays with my family in Dallas. Then from the 26th through the beginning of January we will be in Colorado to ski, drink hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps, read by the fire, and spend quality time with some of our favorite people – including Miss Kelley Schwartz! After that I have the opportunity to travel to Turks and Caicos with Endel’s family. I feel beyond blessed! Which I guess leads me to your question about if and how I may have related to Mev.

I was so surprised to receive that question from you! Because in all honesty, YES, there were many times throughout the book when I would say out loud “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how similar we are!” or “Wow, she felt the same way that I feel sometimes!” But I don’t know if I would have shared that with you without a prompt because in no way do I feel I can truly compare myself with such a phenomenal woman, and the love of your life!

There are two ways that stand out in terms of how I felt I could relate to her. The first being her constant struggling, questioning, and wrestling with the notion that she was born into a wealthy family in St. Louis. How was she to connect the poor? How was it that she had so much and they had so little? What was she to do with those realities? I, too, have wrestled and am STILL wrestling with those questions. I am continually in awe of the blessings in my life. I truly have an attitude that is grateful. On a daily basis. Starting when I wake up in a warm bed, with my health, in a safe home, without fear, without war. It is my deepest desire that I use what God has given me to touch the lives of others. And now, after reading The Book of Mev, I am now wondering how I can actually LIVE with the poor, in solidarity. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I had never considered the difference of being ONE with the poor and HELPING the poor. And that the former is what leads to eventually helping – because we are fighting together for a cause. For healthy, productive, safe, prosperous lives, living as one. But I can’t ignore where I came from. It is part of who I am. But how to connect? How to use what I have for the greater good? It is an understatement to say that I was deeply inspired by the way Mev managed to connect with such grace. She acknowledged where she came from but still fought with her heart and soul and mind to be one with the poor, to share their stories with the world, to understand, to shout at the top of her lungs but with her eloquent words and powerful images.

The other way in which I identified with Mev was her struggle with pride. And it was refreshing to read as she openly discussed this in her letters to you or in her journal. It is such a vicious cycle sometimes! To feel pride. Then to humble yourself. And then to feel pride that you have humbled yourself! I love attention, as she did. I love when people ask me questions. I love when I can share stories. And I love when people approve of me, like me, and praise me. I claim it is because my love language is words of affirmation. And I happily give that affirmation to others as well. But still, sometimes I don’t know how to truly be humble, in the deepest parts of my heart.

Okay, well I could go on and on but that’s at least a preface to what I am sure will be a rich conversation in the future – in person!

May your day be filled with blessings as well – and ones that you recognize and acknowledge!

Look forward to hearing from you,

Kate

Kate, before leaving for six months to Latin America
Kate, before leaving for six months to Latin America

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