I sometimes forget…
that I live in West Africa. Living on a ship means I easily forget that there’s an outside world where rain falls and thunder clatters, that there are cool breezes (and hot ones too) and flowers that smell and butterflies that flutter – huge ones, tiny ones, in all sorts of colours. I sometimes forget that there are rainbows in the tumbling waterfalls and that there’s lush lush greenery blanketing the dramatic landscape – mountains and never ending plateaus. I sometimes forget the beauty of village life – the baby having a roadside bath, held precariously by one arm over a bucket, the girls - necks bent, having their hair braided ready for a new week, the squealing chickens and goats tied to the tops of taxis and the flamboyant colours that make up a woman’s dress. I sometimes forget the giggles of small children at the sight of a ‘white man’, the awe I feel as I look onward at a woman carrying a heavy load on her head and a baby on her back, or the beads of sweat on a young boys forehead as he carries tonight’s firewood home. I sometimes forget what it’s like to laugh – really laugh – and I remember as I stand under a waterfall’s pounding flumes. I so easily forget the joy and deep peace that sweeps over me as I hear birds tweeting in the tress and the bright yellow weaver birds tending to their nests.
I remember thinking the same when we were sailing last – those twinkling blues seas and leaping dolphins, the flying fish showing off their iridescent blues and the incredible starry night skies. It took a weekend away a few hours north from the hustle and bustle of life in a steel can to remember… but it leaves me wondering – are these beauties there all the time? Does that rich rolling landscape get folded up and put away when I’m not there to look at it? I wonder if the trees and butterflies are just playing along? Where does it all go when there’s no-one to ‘wow’ at this creative bliss? Does it all get packed up and filed away? Does God run a few steps ahead of us saying, ‘crikey! she’s on her way! Butterflies - take your place, Mountain - get back there! And Thunder, I thought I told you to clatter! That’s it… good job guys, she’s enjoying it’….???!!! But truth is, it’s there all the time. I need to marvel more.
The reason this all touches me so much, why I find myself saying, ‘ohhhhhh… sorrrry! I’ve been living life in my beige steel box… forgetting that there is beauty and butterflies… sometimes I forget’. And it makes me think of all the ways I choose beige over butterflies. Where I choose disappointment over hope, guilt over grace, incessant worry over peace, bitterness over forgiveness, lack over praise and thanks… and all the time, God is so desperately wanting to invade my life with love, life, colour, power, joy, laughter, hope. God is so good… and sometimes I forget. It’s there all the time.
And even on this beige steel box, there’s plenty of beauty. You should see the ortho kids walking up and down the corridor with their legs all in casts, cheering each other on, ‘bravo, bravo!!’. VVF surgery starts this week and I can’t wait to sense their joy as they put on cloaks of joy and leave behind their spirits of despair. I’m encouraged as I see tumours disappearing and life being poured in. It’s sunday evening and a new week is about to begin.. bring it on….
Love always, KWW