I learned as a young man that I have a deep desire to serve. When my serving is a person to person connection in response to an immediate need, and involves speaking Spanish, this is especially meaningful for me. Knowing this my wife said, “Why don’t you go back to the Kino Border Initiative this summer?” and I listened.
Getting here involved some initiative on my part, some choosing, but mostly, I am being carried. Literally. I was carried by a car to the airport, carried in a plane across the country and carried again by my friends Sylvia and Tim, in their Mitzvah Mobile, from the airport to the border. We delivered 70 pounds of supplies – diapers, baby formula, vitamins, underwear, and more – to the Kino office on the Arizona side. And then my feet, guided by the advice of Yvette of Kino, carried me to a money changer and across the border.
My body is carrying me, my legs are carrying me, and people of both sides of the border are carrying me and enabling this encounter to take place. Some of the most potent service in which we can engage, I believe, is not the service we force but the service we allow to happen – the encounters that we give time to so that they can unfold, the adventures and side routes that were unplanned. Allowing myself to be carried was the key in first meeting returning citizens at a halfway house twenty-three years ago. I was carried to work with Comienzos at the Albuquerque jail and then, upon returning to the east coast, into starting a program in a New Jersey prison.
Allowing ourselves to be carried is closely connected to allowing ourselves to be cared for. My host in Mexico, Lupita, already has cooked two meals for me in just my first few hours here. A room has been prepared and a bed made. Just for me. There is a beautiful mutuality in life, a beautiful exchange of giving and receiving happening all the time—if I go slow enough to feel it. Being open to serving and to being served involves trust. It involves trusting Life and its unfolding and trusting my own heart and its deep desires as they emerge and lead me to engage with Life. In this open-hearted engagement, I am carried, into giving and receiving. We join the flow of all creation, each of us playing our part, being carried into service.
Steve Tumolo, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico – July, 2021