Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't want to be numb

numb dumb blind.

Meeting my brothers and sisters, and their kids ... probably the most fun you can have this side of the next world.

A bit of a dilemma followed.

Coming back yet again from Africa, I find it hard to face my own home.  All I can think of is moving to a simpler place, a cabin perhaps, or a garage.  I'm uncomfortable with my lifestyle.  The years spent in pursuit of education, career, retirement ... all oddly out of balance viewed from recent experience.

Sackcloth seems more appropriate, somehow. 

It hadn't occurred to me in my youth that much thought was needed in regards to others.  Things would work out, I supposed.  

Things will work out?  They don't, actually.  Kids go hungry, adults work harder for less.  Poverty in my country is considered wealthy in most of the world.  

For many, $65 a month is a typical wage if they have a job.
 
An average U.S. home, converted to materials and money, would provide housing for between fifty and perhaps a few hundred families in some other places.  The economic differences between countries are a problem; the people, well we're all pretty much the same.
 

Neighborhood kids, out of school for the afternoon.  'Don't call me 'Babe' on my goddaughter's shirt.
I have no idea where that one came from.  :)
Growing up, I believed the common version of class distinctions; that wealth was somehow an indication of having worked harder or being smarter or better. 

Then I saw that those without wealth work harder than anyone I know, that they rise up and try again and again, and that they genuinely understand community.  They know more about survival and what's really important.  And they're nicer than me, most of them.  I didn't know.
Cooking requires firewood for the stove.
It's taking awhile to re-balance my own worldview.

Old questions have different answers now.

  • The world's finest gentlemen may well be ...
  • The most noble among us are perhaps these ...
  • The most hospitable of families are ...
  • The truly courageous today are those ...
  • Strength, grace, joy, hope, and faith are most visible in ...  
  • Members of my hero short-list are ... 

Bishop Samuel in Kenya and kids he helps to stay in school ...
I got to meet one of these kids when I was there.

The family that adopted us ...
UPDATE: 2016 - the kids are
grown up and on Facebook!
We text msg sometimes and
video chat.


Balance!  I'm still reeling a bit.  My wife, too.  :)  What fun!  OK, not so much fun, maybe, but what fascinating changes.  



Wife and dear friend in western Africa

Now there are no longer insiders and outsiders, gentile and gaijin, us and them, but just the one family, and one God and Father of us all.

 

Hmmm.  Where do you go with that kind of thinking?
 



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