The cats are curled up like lazy commas all around the house and I’m tempted to join them except it would totally ruin my “recovery from jet lag” plan!
Instead, I find myself sitting here scanning through the nearly three weeks of pictures and the very real memory of it all hits me right between my breastbone and eyeballs: the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the lives that were touched along the way.
The way my life was touched by theirs.
The naked joy of uniformed school children in all degrees of dress, running, laughing and waving along roadsides strewn with trash.
The constant underlying tension of poverty and despair pulling hard against the unmistakeable beauty of life being lived more simply.
And how that strange medley of sight, sound and smell still gathers around the edges of each photo taken in that land seemingly fueled by diesel, dust and dung.
It gets on you. It gets in you.
It changes you.
It really has to and you sorta want it to even though you know… it won’t be temporary.
I’ve done enough trips like this so that by now I expect and welcome the changes that must come in me as a result.
I’ve also learned not to exploit the situation by getting ridiculously sappy and over emotional (you can thank me later) while expressing what I know God did there– as if He doesn’t do amazing things right here or anywhere else if we only have the eyes to see that it’s not about the location.
I’m not here to say I’m moving to Africa (unless God calls us to) but I confess that I am being moved and I hope to never stop moving.
Let me tell you more…
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” ”
There’s no way to fully take in and to express the emotion of this moment.
If I try, I can imagine feeling the pounding of Peter’s heart. I can imagine feeling his grief. I can imagine the incredulous shock and confusion as he tried to comprehend what Jesus was asking….
what Jesus is doing. Let me tell you more…
The phone rings several times and I almost hang up before she answers.
I talk. She listens with her gaping wide-open heart.
She talks and I hear… with my gaping wide-open heart.
There are no words to say, to fix, to heal… apart from the words
of the One we both are knowing more day by day.
The One who *knows* us even more.
She speaks and I listen harder when the words come.. from that deep place she’s been many times before. The place where joy comes in the morning… through the mourning.
“You get to choose how much of the grief you’ll wear.” she counsels.
“You can keep stirring the pot and more will come up to the surface and you get to decide what to do with it.”
Stirring the pot. Yes.
Jesus, who speaks through this affliction, speaks from affliction… for the afflicted.
For the nows.
We recognize Him………in the breaking…. the breaking… the breaking.
And I know what I must do.
Stir the pot and use what comes to the surface to feed others who find themselves here…
hurting and hungry.
Thoroughly confused and thirsting…
For the Bread of Life… for the Living water.
He did not let this cup pass from Him.
Neither did she.
Nor will I.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction,
so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,
so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)
The table is open. Come.