Tears and Laughter in the Desert

For this month’s We are the World Blogfest, we offer a mention of an We Are The World--in Darkness, Be Lightinteresting article from Desert Exposure. [You’ll need to zoom in to read the article or download the entire issue and read it as a PDF.]

The monthly paper is an eclectic mix of event listings, features on local culture, restaurant reviews, spiritual/metaphysical stuff, humor, ads for some very interesting services, letters on local political issues and a whole lot more. Probably the best, and most feature-filled free paper I’ve ever seen.

Morgan Smith discusses his most recent trip to Mexico from his home in New Mexico. Over the last six years, he reports, he and his not-long-deceased wife Julie, made 80 or so trips there to offer help in one form or another to those in poverty. The feature of the most recent trip included attending a wedding at a mental asylum run by a Pastor Galvin, who relies on donations to operate–not wanting accept funds from whatever government agencies offered it, but with strings attached.

What’s encouraging about this piece is the dedication to helping others who need it and are likely not looked upon with much less disdain than the typical urban panhandler at an intersection with the hand-lettered sign. Here’s a sample from the article:

First we stop briefly at Vision in Action, the mental asylum where two pairs of patients will get married. . . This is part of Pastor Galvin’s belief in the dignity of his patients and his sense that giving them the same opportunities that we “sane” people have helps them recover. For the past 21 years, he has cared for 100-120 patients, most of whom have been brought to him by the police with a variety of ailments.

10 thoughts on “Tears and Laughter in the Desert

  1. What an inspiring story – I’m so touched by it. Treating people with compassion and dignity costs us nothing and yet the results can be so profound, and none of us deserves anything less.

  2. John, this is a moving post and Pastor Galvin is surely doing extraordinary work. Some years ago, in another city where I worked, I regularly visited a mental health residence for various services and even funerals. We had many laughs. But affording basic dignity to them costs us little. In fact, it enriches us greatly. Thanks for joining in our blogfest 🙂 Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

    1. It’s an amazing person who has such compassion and caring. Back in my post Vietnam ideological days I held strong political views about making the world a better place. Yet, in the basement apartment in which I and my second wife lived during college years in a small Minnesota town, I found it difficult to even converse with the homeowner’s 40-something son. He had been on a destroyer sunk during WWII and suffered from PTSD (or what they called it then, “shell shock.” Actually more than PTSD, I suspect. It took many years and a faith practice that extended abstract principle to one on one compassion. So I am always impressed when people go so far in helping others.

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