Returns after Summer Break! My Borrowed Life (Kenya, 2016)
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What – My Borrowed Life
I have another life. It’s a life I love but it’s not a life I own. It’s a borrowed life; borrowed from the African soil. It isn’t mine to keep.
It’s a life where a rooster unapologetically announces the morning and every moment tugs at my arm to take notice. My pace slows as home cooked breakfasts invite me to linger and uneven steps warn me to walk cautiously. My eyes adjust to absorb markets strewn with yellow bananas, hanging meat and local wares. Clothing lines dressed with bright colors don the landscape and smoke from a fire cooking someone’s next meal fills the thick air. The drone of convenience and comfort that normally dulls my senses is replaced by jarring doses of inconvenience and uncertainty, demanding I draw from dormant reserves of ingenuity and patience.
Patience. A slowed, different life. Patience when water isn’t flowing and a shower becomes an event. Patience when each meal is painstakingly prepared from scratch…freshly cut mango, stewed okra, seasoned rice, cabbage, potatoes with rosemary…selected and served from market to table. Patience when tilapia is served whole and succulent pieces of fish must be carefully separated from bone. Patience when sipping daily homemade masala tea, rich with warm milk and spices. Patience when worship is savored and honored rather than dictated by a clock. Patience when wifi is scarce and conversations about matters of the heart across a dinner table eclipse the addiction to the Internet.
Patience when riding in a car driven by someone who is – thankfully – uniquely capable of navigating dirt roads deeply rutted by the African rains. Someone with a story; a story that steals my heart like a thief. Someone like Livingston…faithfully serving his church, and in turn me, by providing transportation, while believing God to heal his wife from infertility. Each morning my drive includes a smile, a kind word, and a gentle nudge to expand my Swahili.
Every corner tells a new story: women whose bravery exceeds any courage I have ever known, and whose prayers reveal a depth of relationship with Jesus I honestly covet.
Women like Jane, fighting a difficult battle with heart problems yet designing breathtaking jewelry for God’s glory – all at the tender age of eighteen. I’m humbled by her maturity.
Women like Terry, surviving a brutal rape on her wedding day only to tragically lose her husband 29 days after she eventually married. I’m wrecked by her radiant spirit in the face of such adversity.
I stand in their shadow. This is a borrowed life. I borrow their strength, their dignity, their resolve, their tenacity, their wisdom, their beauty. I marvel at the grace God has appointed to them and the anointing that has come at such a price.
These people. This place.
This unspoiled land of the Maasai Mara whose sounds and silence simultaneously leave me awestruck. Where crickets sound like wind chimes and the horizon stretches father than the eye can see. Truly we all only borrow this place. A slowed, different life. Patience in the tan grass to see if the stealth cheetah will attempt a run at the gazelle.
Patience on the Mara River bank to witness thousands of wildebeests and zebras who choose their moment to cross during their migration. After eleven hours of driving and waiting on these indecisive, complicated animals, patience won. “Timing and patience matter.” Those wise words were appropriately spoken by Robert, my game drive guide. In a phrase, he summed up the lesson God is teaching me from this trip to Africa.
These moments that press themselves so intensely into my heart I feel as if I cannot breathe. This undoing that has forever marked me. This captivating call that has ruined me for a life with any hint of complacency.
This borrowed life that pulls me toward patience, mostly with myself. Africa has wound it’s fingers so tightly around my skin I can only wear it home. I can only hope I step into these shoes I have borrowed and walk worthy of all God has allowed me to see. To hear. To know.
Africa has been my teacher, my friend, my most unlikely companion. Every day she reminds me to live the life I am given with reckless abandon and ridiculous gratitude. To worship with wholehearted devotion that can only flow from a fully surrendered heart.
That is a life we can all borrow: a life that lives fully and loves well.
You don’t have to travel to Africa to embrace a “slowed down life.” Step into someone’s shadow who has much to teach and much to give. Then grab ahold and don’t let go until you’re living a transformed life that can’t help but transform others. Make Your Life Matter No Matter What.
That. That is a life worth living.
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
Leave me a comment! You don’t have to travel to Africa to embrace a “slowed down life.” What is one step you can take today? I’ll choose one winner from the comments to receive a set of handmade bracelets from Jane of “Jane’s Beads.”