how do you explain to the whole world, that Love is crying? that this word – poverty that has been repeated millions of times, in millions of languages is as real as Love, and the reason why Love cries, is because poverty has never ceased crying.
he started off this business trip, as he normally does. a laptop, his cell phone and his bible which he never dared to leave behind, all tucked up in the seat right in front of him as he settled for what would a very long flight. his assistant knew him all too well, and had reserved the window seat for this trip, and ensured convenient access to both internet and phone for his business needs. twenty two grueling hours later, he and his colleagues arrived in he city of Kinsasha, where they would be finalizing negotiations with the government of Congo, to assist Congo in rebuilding it’s infrastructure after the devastating war.
“there are moments when your day is more than a day,” he thought. moments when the noise of the world ceases to be noise, and instead you are able to decipher what the noise is all about. moments when the loud and overcrowded streets of Kinshasa cease being loud and overcrowded, instead they are transformed into this very colorful unified choir, singing songs that call for help. it means that the very old lady, barefoot on the streets chasing after you, is not just chasing after you. she is chasing hope. and there is where the whole world stands still, or so it feels. stands still in wait. and if we for whatever reason decide to look away, never to stop to be hope, then it also means that the choir continues to sing, and Love continues to cry. cry because once again, His helpless child is left helpless, as she dares to make her way home, only to find that her hungry and skinny looking children, are just breathes away from death.
Frederick Buechner says that God puts himself at our mercy not only in the sense of suffering that we can cause him by our blindness and coldness, but the suffering that we can cause him by suffering ourselves. because that is the way Love works, and when someone we love suffers, we suffer with him, and we would not have it otherwise because the suffering and the love are one, just as it is with God’s love for us. — the hungry dark
on the streets that day was Mercy. she chased after John’s Range Rover, and it was from the side mirror, that John first spotted her. she ran barefoot, dressed in clothes as dirty and dusty as the ground, and her feet as cracked as a clay pot. John signaled to his driver to stop, and within seconds they were pulling up to the side of the busy streets of Kinshasa to receive Mercy. Mercy eventually made it to the Range Rover, where John and his driver stood awaiting her arrival. she took a few minutes to catch her breathe, before she stretched out her worn out basket half filled with peanuts, which she had hoped to sell to John.
John slowly whisked her to a shabby little restaurant by the streets, as she stared on perhaps wondering what John would do to her. he was obviously wealthy, because wealthy in her life meant one was dressed well, and could then afford the luxuries of a driver. being white in her world, also meant being wealthy. his manner of greeting was also one that Mary associated with the rich. maybe he hated her hopeless boldness so much, that he was planning to beat her to death, she thought. like the one wealthy man she had dared to approach a few months back. some people, she remembered don’t receive this kind of noise that well. and so she held on tight to her basket, almost in such a way as to prepare to escape what she thought was about to happen.
after they settled down outside the shabby little restaurant, John gently reached for his wallet and offered Mercy what seemed like a million dollars. the world it seemed had stopped for such a time as this. Mercy’s eyes popped out wide open, as she stretched out her hand to then offer John the basket of peanuts he had purchased. as quickly as he received the basket, was as quickly as he placed it back on her lap, and explained to her that he was not in need of the peanuts. tears fell gently down her face, as she immediately reached for her basket, and almost unknowingly popped open most of the peanuts, and proceeded to fill her hungry little tummy, with all the peanuts she could get open.
John’s driver returned back with plates of food, and asked Mercy to join in the feast. and after sharing a meal and a few laughter’s together, John made a few phone calls for help, and shortly thereafter they parted ways, but not after John had ensured that she was well connected with the help she needed, to sustain and provide for her family.
upon arriving his hotel room that afternoon, he fell to the floor in utter disbelief at the noises of poverty he had witnessed, and cried a few tears for the love he had shared with Mercy. he reached for the phone, and cried some more as he explained to his wife, what pain and suffering faced majority of the people of Kinshasa, and how he had met Mercy, or rather how Mercy had met him, and made more of his day, than he could ever have imagined.
sleep that night was hard to find. he could still hear the noises in the streets, however this time the noises came with faces, and the faces came with pain.
you may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own. –michelle obama