A realization

Since I got back to Colombia in May, I’ve been having my lunch with my colleagues round the corner from the seminary where we have our office, with a lovely lady called Doña Patty.

The food is good and healthy but there is a lot of it and I suggested to Doña Patty that I might do without the soup. “Oh, you can’t have lunch without soup,” said Doña Patty. “Well, I just feel a little full,” I said. “No, it’s not lunch without soup. I’ll give you a small portion,” she replied. So that’s what happens.

But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

Some seminary students also have their lunch there. One day I arrived and found three seminary students waiting for their lunch, passing the time by staring, empty-faced, at their smartphones.

I often do this too; I’m not judging these students.

But in that moment I thought, “How lonely we all are, and how we feverishly seek connection.”

So since then, I have tried to be more open in all my real-world interactions and expect this connection that we all yearn for. And you know, since then, I’ve had three great encounters, two very short, one longer, in which people showed me their hearts and I came away blessed.

However useful our smart phones are, they will never replace that exciting moment when we look into someone’s eyes and see their souls.

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Unexpected, on the way to work

As I queued to get on the train this morning I noticed that the man in front of me had a question in English printed on the back of his shirt.

It said:

Does it matter how you were baptised?

How very unexpected!

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There and back again

Disappointingly, there were no motorbike rides during my latest trip to the Coast. Instead we got a minibus right to the entrance to the church where we were holding our first camp of the year for our children’s club leaders. Over 50 came to receive training and teaching from the life of Paul.

On Saturday night, there was a huge thunderstorm which went on for hours. The rain hammering off the corrugated iron roof kept me awake until minutes before it was time to get up, or so it seemed, and the power was out until mid-morning.

As I came to from my ten minutes of sleep, I heard somone singing, “I’m going to live this day as if it were my last.”

When I got up I saw the most amazing sunrise, a blaze of orange reflected in a lagoon, a sight so beautiful that I gasped.

And I found everybody calmly getting on with their mornings, clearing up the mess caused by the storm, queuing for showers and waiting for breakfast. The ladies who were cooking for us had come barefoot through the mud because motorbikes couldn’t handle the terrain.

Everything started an hour late but nobody minded.

Welcome to the Colombian Coast.

Where nothing is ever a crisis.

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Signs of life

Life has taken over and I’ve not made blogging a priority.

But that’s not to say interesting things haven’t been happening.

One was the following conversation in the queue for a taxi at the supermarket.

The older lady beside received a phone call on her mobile from someone who was obviously concerned about her.

I’m fine, she said, I’m just getting my toenails done. Don’t worry, I’m absolutely fine. Thank you for caring but I’m fine.

When she hung up, she turned to me and said,

Oh, why can’t people just leave me alone. A whole life of being with people and now I just want some peace and quiet. My son, my daughter-in-law, even my ex-husband all phoning because I’m not at home. On a little innocent outing. Imagine if it was something not so innocent. Forty-eight and half years of marriage and I never went anywhere and now I just want a little freedom. Is it too much to ask?

Forty-eight and half years is a long time, I said.

Yes, but it had died a long time before. I could say it was born dead. We were just two tourists trying to get along. And now I’m 73 and I feel my life has gone by in a flash.

PS Tonight I head off to the Coast for a camp with our children’s club leaders. Two buses and a motorbike-ride away. Now doubt there will be lots to report on my return, early next week.

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