I love this photo! Taken outside “Baños de Chaki” (hot springs in the Bolivian Andes). Quechua lady.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates, day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. “
Teaching the 3, 4 and 5 year olds today we had to reprimand several of the little boys for talking and gesturing with each other about stabbing people with knives and about slitting people’s throats with same.
Vignette #3: Little E., four years old and speaking with a lisp, when the topic of class discussion got on “Obeying our Moms when they Ask us to Wash up, or to Go to Bed”, talking eagerly and excitedly to everybody in the class about how he has 3 Moms!
Vignette #4: Sharing Who Jesus is with the children, verbally, in small groups of four or five, through use of the “Evangel-cube” and how eager all the children are to hear and “do” the cube over and over again, never tiring of it, and breaking in to help tell the story, and how they love to handle the cube themselves, in turn, and help tell bits and pieces of the story.
Vignette #5: How the children were all big-eyed when I introduced the new Crayola crayons all the way from the Estados Unidos, and how worried they were about the possibility of accidentally breaking the new crayons. One little guy said, “Oh no! The point of my crayon is breaking!” when it was only blunted the tiniest fraction through him starting to use it on his color paper…
#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)! They kept insisting that they were not! (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments) Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.
“For YOU created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise YOU because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from YOU when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious are YOUR thoughts to me, O God!” Psalm 139: 13 – 17a.
I took this photo when we stopped in our jeep for a quick break, on the rough mountain road between Potosi and Oruru. Right now, we’re not in Bolivia and, though I’m loving being in my country, the U.S., I’m missing the people of the Andes. I’m missing my children and their families, and more closeness, more authentic CONNECTION, with relatives, loved ones, friends, also. And I’m missing more of a sense of true home and roots, any place on earth. But I read something this morning that gave me some comfort; I’m still thinking about it, trying to figure out whether or not I agree. This is it – it’s from the “Jesus Calling” little devotional book by Sarah Young. “Understanding will never bring you PEACE. That’s why I have instructed you to trust in ME, not in your understanding. (Prov. 3: 5 and 6) Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out (yup! that’s me alright!), in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems; as soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you.”
Okay, so, according to this, my maybe “losing” a degree of my painful longing for more connection, more closeness, more of the actual “walking together” for segments of our lives, with loved ones scattered, lies in NOT trying all the time to analyze and change the situations, but lies instead in spending more time alone with Jesus, quietly listening and enjoying and looking at Him? I think I accept that, believe that. I’ll give it a new try!
And (this is just from me, not from the J. Calling book) also…though mention of it is getting to be a cliche, SQUEEZING THE EXPERIENCING OF EACH HOUR AND DAY, though it contain but a fragment of the vaguely desired dream in its entirety, for ALL that it is worth. For each hour, and each day, contains good stuff! And, my life is passing by. This is not my practice life.
“She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.” – from The Elephant Journal
Do they still call roll in high school in the States, with the teacher opening the home room class period by murmuring through a list of first and last names, mispronouncing some of them, after each of which a teen shouts “present”?
Present…Presence… together in the here and now. In the increasingly fragmented world we live in, popular psychology is full of counsel to all of us to “stay more in the here and now”.
Really, where else could we stay? Our past is gone but in memory, and our future does not exist but in dreams. Memories and dreams can be immensely important and are a huge part of each of us! I don’t agree with the people who say, “All we have is the present”. That’s not true unless we happen to be a baby in utero, or one newborn, or someone on their deathbed. What an immensely valuable gift from God are both our memories and our dreams for our futures!
So much of God’s Word seems to be written in present tense! Psalm 23 says, “He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul.” Not, “He led me, last October 29th.” Or, “Once, a long time ago, I had a wonderful one-time experience of God restoring my soul – I remember it as if it were yesterday!”
In Acts 2:28, Peter (quoting the Psalmist) says, “You, God, make known to me the way of life. You enrapture me, diffusing my soul with joy, with and in Your Presence.” (AMP)
“No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can, truly, hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God’s faithful love.” – Henri Nouwen