Friday, August 3, 2007
One of the highlights of the trip for me was the time we would spend in spiritual reflection as a group each day. Before we left New York, our priest, Kate, prepared a schedule with readings for spiritual reflection and who would lead the reflection along with who would lead Compline (evening prayer) for the evening.
We left the boys at Youthcare Ministries to return to the lodge and have spiritual reflection before dinner. Dinner this night turned out not to be fried chicken but a treat at an Indian restaurant.
The power had gone out. It wasn’t until later that evening we learned that power outages would happen again, and they were scheduled each evening. We continued on by candlelight. Krista led the reflection with a text from Henri Nouwen on listening. One of the points Krista made in the beginning was the idea to quiet the chatter in our minds to hear God. The ‘stuff’ of life: the grocery shopping, phone calls, dentist appointments, school functions. Work begins to fill up every quiet place we have in our lives. This chatter becomes a wall and we are unable to hear God’s voice.
We had a lovely dinner and returned to the lodge for Compline and much needed showers and rest. After such a long day, I was ready for a shower and bed, but our room had no hot water pressure. I went to the front desk to ask for a towel, but no one was there. I ended up taking a towel off the clothesline; it was mostly dry.
As I was waiting to take my shower, the tears began to fall. The tears were not only for the children I met and held earlier that day, but also my child, and myself as a child. It is tragic and unfathomable that there is poverty to the level it exists in Malawi or the United States, anywhere on our planet at this time in history. That is really just the most sweeping, generic, truly inadequate description of what I saw throughout the day.