Monday, May 14, 2012

Out of the Abundance

....of my heart, my mouth speaks.

* My dear friend was helping me unpack some boxes of food. When I pulled out a bag of lentils, it was as if I had reached inside her heart and pulled out a story at the same time.  She saw the bag and spoke.  She recognized those beans, she told me, and during the war she would sell them in exchange for food.  There was no rice in those days, she recollected. So, she and her companions would disguise themselves as old women and walk a great distance to go and buy lentils.  They had to be in disguise because when soldiers saw young women, they would capture them and take them away.

*  My Man woke me up from a cozy night's sleep a few nights ago with this earnest direction: "Get up!  Go get in bed with the kids."  I roused, and stumbled into my kids room.  He shut us in, and I laid there with my mind running wild.  Later, I found out that a serious gun battle had gone on outside.  A while after it finished, it seemed safe to return to sleep.  Within moments, more gunfire...this time closer.  
After several phone calls we were relieved to learn it was only a battle between the gendarme and robbers.  That was good news, you see, because the following morning an unsanctioned citywide protest against the government was to occur. Schools, stores, and even taxis were shut down in anticipation of trouble and violence.    
Many local friends share their feelings with me. One man lamented that they have had a year and a half of (West African style) peace and he doesn't want it to end.  Others believe that they cannot rest until they are given justice in their government. 
And almost every person I talk to, no matter the tribe, will at some point refer to America as the example of what they want to be. 

 *  My girls have made friends with a local pastor.  He is small, kind of strange looking...and wonderful.  He has a second job, like most every other pastor here and that's where we met him.  In fact, it was at his place of work where I nearly tripped over him as he was on the floor praying.  It was the day of the protest...and I had a pretty good idea what he was talking to the FATHER about.  

I think back to my time in North Carolina and it's almost like it was a dream.  My kids played outside, riding bikes down the sidewalks with their neighborhood friends. My door was always swinging with friends coming in out.  I had coffee and cookies and delicious conversation with my precious neighbor and intimate friend C*. 
I can hardly stand to even think of those things lately.  Things are serious here.  Even when they are fun, they are serious. Everything operates on a different level.  We could pluck just one person out of Africa and bring them to the States and we would be shocked at their story. It would be like something from a movie.  Yet, those are common stories here. 

Still, there is nowhere else I would rather be.  There are no faces I would rather have around me than these.  

Because the bottom line is this--whether I am there where things are rich and sweet and light, or here where things are rich and sweet and heavy, I exist for JESUS... My Wild Man JESUS.

For from HIM and through HIM and to HIM are all things. To HIM be glory forever. Romans 11:36

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