I have arrived safely back in the USA for which I am so grateful. Amazing to go from a completely different world back to the most familiar world in just 17 hours–a long trip, but even longer and further from my cultural context. I found myself somewhat paralyzed and overwhelmed as to how to process all the sounds and sights of Swaziland.
I must say that I smiled to be able to visit the local bookstore/coffee shop and just watch the familiar once again, but this time with different lenses. I watched a wonderful family: grandparents, parents and small children under 6 enjoy the refreshments of Starbuck’s, read books newly purchased, sitting on the laps of grandma and grandpa playing games, looking at books, talking……being an extended family right here and now. But my memories are of children with no books, no parents reading to them , maybe no parents at all, and grandparents scraping by, hauling water from an unclean water source to make perhaps the only meal of the day… some porridge and beans, if you’re lucky. No coffee drinks, no fat-free syrups, no lovely pop-up books to read–yet still, family supporting and loving each other, the best ways possible.
How is it that 17 hours away we have those who have so little while we have so much? Why does that bring conflict in my heart and soul? Rich Stearns, in his book, “A Hole in our Gospel” said it well, quoting a pastor friend of his….. ” It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do.” So, like many of us, I know what I believe about this. I know that I am to do something, to live differently, to make a difference. But also like most of us, I wonder…..how? While I am thinking of it all, my non-fat iced latte with one pump sugar-free vanilla is ready. Will I ever change?
Chuck Swindoll once said that America was a playground between two oceans. It’s time we started casting off from the shore. I’m not sure if I am a very good swimmer OR sailor!🙂