The rain sounds like the ocean from my childhood memories of Cape Cod- a roll and cease of oncoming waves driven by the wind, carrying away the stuffiness and also the sunshine. Inside the small interior with yellow walls and a tin roof that sounds like a drum, I sit on a small bench with a pounding headache and an oncoming cold, but with joy in my heart and a smile on my lips that cannot be deterred by physical ailments. I have wandered so far from familiarity; and in wandering, I have stumbled through the pouring rain until my feet have found the welcoming white buildings that overlook the mountains of Monterey; I have found home again.
Sometimes, the beauty of this Mexican landscape overcomes me- like last night, driving home from a dinner with the staff, when the sunlight pierced through the foreboding clouds and bathed me in sunlight; when the wind roared through the open window of the van and also swept patches of gold across decaying shacks and ancient white churches with giant stones tumbling down into the weeds like they were forgotten. In the distance, the mountains stood proudly in the midst of low cloud cover that sometimes blocked the sun and sometimes didn't. The natural beauty of this place is absolutely breathtaking.
But more beautiful than the landscape are the cheerful faces upturned towards me, chattering in a foreign tongue but in a language that is clearly evident: small hands gripping my shirt; a tiny head resting on my shoulder; a bright smile shining through the miserable weather. From somewhere outside I hear laughs that sound better than the rain on the roof; I see small feet running faster than the warm evening wind and feel broken and hurting hearts still calling to me, that are softer than the pastel clouds. These precious boys are like dry sponges that need more than the spring rains; they crave love and affection. And hugs, lots and lots of hugs.
El Rancho Del Rey has become my second home- I've only been here once before, but the boys and the staff have quickly crept into my heart and have secured an eternal bond that can only be described as heavenly. God is in this place; His hands enfold each boy with tremendous love through the selfless service of the dorm parents, the staff and the volunteers that enter through the white gate.
In short, this place is a little slice of heaven on earth.