Posted by: howvoicebegan | 12/05/2010

The People I Meet

Namibian Children

I’m thinking about people I have met in brief over the course of my travels- people who have done something to leave a tiny imprint in my life. People like the Tsonga grandmother who didn’t know to welcome me in my language, so she pressed her hands firmly against my head, brushing through my fine hair. Or, sometimes I see the wide eyes of the Namibian bush children who came to my car, wordless and hungry, when I was pulled over to read a map. Sometimes I think about the South African man who wanted his picture taken for proof of “the world’s ugliest man,” as he stated. Other times I hear the echoing opera of the Italian man singing in the Grotte Dell Angelo, his voice ringing off of the God-designed acoustically outstanding caves. Then there was the nameless and wordless man who felt burdened to stay with me no-man’s land when I was too ill to walk to Zambia. My dear friend Mottatsi in Lesotho, who said he’d never forget me and offered me his sheep, still makes me smile. Burton in Trinidad and Tobago has a rambling energy that bolts in any which direction. Then there was the father who chastised my country for not using a dowry system, which is the “right way,” as he made the point to say. Shepherd the Zimbabwean was truly kind at heart but confused in the muddle of greed of his friends. The Motswana boat guide who fashioned a necklace out of a lily for me and then asked for a ride home, explaining that he is very lucky to have a job when so many others don’t.

Some of these people I long to know more. Others will exist only as a memory. I sometimes wonder if they think about me, of if there are others I have encountered who remember me but I do not remember them. But, each person I have listed, and the countless others whom I haven’t, has brought something to me- something to think about, praise God about, pray for, weep over, or laugh about. These are all people whom God loves dearly; however brief they pass through my eyes, they do no pass briefly through His.

I desire to give my utmost care and love to these people, however brief it may be, and to acknowledge them for the preciousness that they are. For, as Jesus passed through many lives in brief, he left a legacy of love they never forgot– and neither has the world, as we continue to read those stories today. What if every brief encounter was marked by an uncharacteristic mercy, tenderness, and love?

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