September 6, 2012

The Coming and Going

One after the other they pass by, some on bicycles, some on horse-drawn carts, others walking with machete in hand. The day ahead is long, hot and difficult, but these men – young and old – head to the fields before the sun has a chance to scorch away any hint of the refreshing that came with the night.

The young ones have a spring in their gait that boasts of a coming-of-age sense of privilege to participate alongside the revered generations. The older ones proceed at an unhurried yet determined pace, moving along bent under the weight of what lies ahead.
I pause from my own morning routine of dishes and bed-making to simply watch these daily rain forest commuters. Here inside with a fan blowing I still cannot keep the sweat from sliding my morning face off in less time than it took to put on, and I wonder how they appear so dry out there walking and riding in the full sun, dressed in long-sleeved shirts, with trousers tucked into heavy rubber boots.
Each afternoon they return weary and tired, no longer dry, these walkers who carry bundles on shoulders, and bikers who precariously balance loads across spindly frames. Horses pull carts laden with the days' cuttings while thunderous motorcycles, brightly painted buses and large transport trucks rip past the slower travellers in a baffling scene of contrast and contradiction.

It's like watching the ebb and flow of the tide with some swimmers caught in the heavy under current that pulls them further and further out to sea, while others catch the surface of the same powerful force to glide by on a fast, furious ride toward solid ground.
And here I am. Watching. Absorbing. Struggling to connect, scrambling to identify with these colliding cultures and traditions, grappling to comprehend the way of life here in context with the various language groups represented. And all the while, the narrow perspective of my own life experience threatens to filter everything so fine that all that I see is limited to what I have previously known.
I don't want that kind of cramped horizon and heart. I want an expanded heart and an expanded vision to see what God sees as I adapt and adjust here in a new land. I want to see beyond the natural to look with spiritual eyes, and to filter new happenings and experiences according to His heart and purpose instead of through the narrow funnel of my own understanding. I want neither to be caught in the under current nor to be riding by oblivious, but to be fully engaged in what God is doing regardless of the cultural setting, the language barriers, or the daily tasks.

Challenging?  -- You bet! 

Impossible? -- Not with God. Not when there's the coming and going that happens when I allow Him to take center place in my life, and let my "me-ness" slip quietly out of the way.



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