In this essay, I hope to show how the symbolism and meaning from “To Kill A Mockingbird” (a novel written by Harper Lee circa 1960) fits in appropriately with my recent journey to a nation that is rising into the Modern World and yet maintains its innocence throughout.
The name of this nation is Guatemala and has been a part of Central America for quite some time. In fact, it dates back to the days of the Mayans and their ancestors are still present to this day. And most importantly, Guatemala is now trying to become part of the world. How does this occur? It occurs with “transformation”. And that transformation must occur from within before it can be expressed from without.
Before I go any further, I should probably input some information stemming from the Novel / Movie “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I will interlace this information throughout this essay but suffice to say and I quote: “The mockingbird is a bird that only pleases people. It sings a pleasant song and then flies away.” The story relates to double symbolism dealing with prejudice and racism and the loss of perceived innocence.
I just came from Guatemala. The purpose of my trip was to work with 150 of my colleagues who were trained and part of the John Maxwell Team but came from all corners of the world. That same world that was so big for so long and yet these people came when called. Space and time were no longer a continum. They came with their hearts and minds in anticipation of not knowing what to anticipate. The mission of this trip was to work with the people of Guatemala and help to bring Transformacion (Transformation) and it was to begin from within each and every one of them. Originally, I thought that just meant the people of Guatemala but what was quickly apparent was that transformation was to occur in each and every one of us as well.
At this point, I should mention a few things that would handicap most other missions. Such as the fact that half of the children of Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition and stunted growth. This highest rate of malnutrition in Latin America results in lower IQ levels. That Guatemala is a source country for the trafficking of both women and children for sex and also serves as a “transit” country for sex trafficking from neighboring Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Because of its position, Guatemala is like an intersection in the transit of illegal drugs. There are well over 370,000 orphans and the 140,000 youth that come of age each year can only hope to secure a mere 20,000 new jobs. This is a country where the average age is in the 20’s. This is a country where there are no national heroes. No heroes period! A country with many natural resources but the greatest of these resources are the people themselves.
Sounds like a hopeless story and yet the mockingbird has come along and is singing pleasant songs. The mockingbird has not flown away yet and in many ways I can see the mockingbird evolving into the likes of a phenix or even that of an eagle. You may be asking yourself, as I know I was, how this can be? Well from the very moment that John Maxwell spoke to many of us back in February, I knew that this was in the hands of the Grand Overall Designer. He clearly was hearing the cry of His people. The people of Guatemala. You see, the people were and also are the Mockingbird.
These people heard the call of Guatemala Prospera and wanted to be the source of a new country. These people heard the rallying cry of their President and came and came. In fact, they are still coming with open hearts, and smiles and tears, yes tears in their eyes. The appreciation factor that these people from all walks of Guatemalan life have shown, are showing and will continue to show is so awesome that words really cannot describe what I witnessed. My heart and my soul were impacted and I came to realize that this was part of the reason why I was put on this Earth.
Guatemala is truly the mockingbird. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird. I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that a mockingbird is more than someone who is innocent. A mockingbird is a songbird, that does no harm and provides only beauty. To kill something harmless and beautiful would be wrong. For me, the mockingbird is a symbol of expression, of speech. You don’t kill or suppress this freedom. And that is why Guatemala is rising. My sorrow as I conclude this essay is that I only wish the country I was born and grew up in was paying attention. It would almost seem that someone is trying very hard to kill a mockingbird there.
I am ready to go back and help the mockingbird sing whenever and wherever he will be found.