roses & a razor

April 22, 2007

I fear I may not be a very good ascetic. Ok—so I know I’m not a good ascetic. And I fear this may also seem rather unspiritual; but the fact of the matter is that God’s grace manifest itself to me in the form of roses & a razor, Indian food & ice cream.
I should probably explain why exactly it feels unspiritual for me to feel this way: the reason I was able to experience such luxuries is that I was passing through the bustling metropolis of Lusaka en route to a “Spiritual Life” missions conference. So my tears of gratitude came more intensely from the outing offered by a generous friend than from the speakers & studies of the conference itself.
That said, the conference was certainly not without enrichment—not in the slightest. But it was the old connections that I benefited most greatly from, since I am not an official member of this missions crew. I was invited to the conference thanks to old family ties. Or, as I was introduced when I arrived, I am a “former missionary kid.” At which point a voice piped in from the audience: “So at what time of life exactly does one cease to be a missionary kid?” The dissenter was answered with a sharp glance of un/-amusement, but a few chuckles were heard shortly thereafter when another member was introduced simply as a “missionary kid.” [Later I asked him how he had earned his lifelong membership in the club].
The conference was full of people eager to share memories they had of my parents & siblings; I, in turn, was eager to listen. It was also filled with sweet times of communion with people my bush-isolated self was unaware I was hungry for.
As for those roses . . . a friend took me to an unusual spot in Lusaka, a small corner to “home” for those of us accustomed to such aesthetic delights as gardens. In the midst of heat, dust, and a city focused on survival, this was a stunningly beautiful rose garden and park. I stood there for a while, stunned at the sight; then I proceeded to walk around, smelling all the roses. What I am guessing is that Zambia is a perfect rose-growing climate, and so when someone makes the effort to grow them, the results tend to be brilliant blooms in vibrant hues. For me, this discovery was intensely moving: a simple discovery that yielded a most immense delight.
And the razor? Well, for approximately 2 months now I have been using a half of a razor, the other half disappearing into the belly of a warthog. And this was the first time since then that I have been able to get to a store in which to purchase such extravagances.
Indian food and ice cream I will assume to be self-explanatory as far as pleasures go. And so concluded the happy week and a half of adventures of a bush resident in the big city :-)

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