Monday, April 11, 2011

Where I Come From

For a couple of years, this picture was the desktop on my computer.  I put it there so that every day I would see it, and remember where I come from.  A couple of my friends thought it was to remind myself of the days when I still had hair...what do they know?  This was the village of Bokraha, in the Terai region of southeast Nepal where we lived much of the time in my early years.

For a kid, life was good.  I remember being able to get through my schoolwork by late morning (it was that, or Mom just wanted me out of her hair) and it was the great outdoors for the rest of the day.  Life was also bone simple.  To be sure, we kept up with the Joneses, but in the context of a remote village in Nepal, that meant a house with mud walls (really) and a thatch roof.  Actually, we raised the bar for the Joneses having water in our house--it consisted of a single pipe sunk straight into the ground topped off with one of those old fashioned cast iron hand-operated water pumps...but we had indoor plumbing.  Pretty sure Dad took some flack for that from some of the hard-core missionaries.  

If my memory serves me correctly (and if it doesn't, I'll get a corrective email from my Mom in a day or two) the extent of my toys in Bokraha were a bunch of marbles, whose quantity varied based on how well I was doing in the daily cut-throat games on the packed dirt at village center, and an eight-inch iron ring.  The ring was great fun: we would run along the top of the narrow paths on the rice paddy dikes at a full gallop, using a stick to push the ring along in front of us.  I guess you had to be there.  When you got bored of the ring and the marbles you could always smack the backsides of the cows with a stick to keep them moving around the threshing floor.  If I do get a corrective email from my Mom, I'm gonna be bummed because I'm going to have to retract all my "Well, when I was a kid, all I had to play with was..." statements that I use to harass Cameron when the power goes out during one of his computer games.

Anyway, I'm going somewhere with this...perhaps because of where I come from, most of the time I live with this sense of wonder that my world ever morphed into something more than marbles, rebar rings and whacking cow's butts.  On days when I lose the wonder, I lose my joy.  If I just remember where I've come from, I pinch myself and am awed that I've traded in the rebar ring for a 33 year old rusty Landcruiser that starts most mornings.  I ask the Lord why me, why, with all the things that can go wrong in life, do I have it so good?  If I've lost the wonder, I'm ticked because of the muddy water on my shoes from the puddle I just drove through...and I'm asking the Lord a different set of why me why do I have to have a car with holes in the floor?

When I think about it, where I really come from, is a place of great need.  I should spend each day in wonder that Jesus has answered that picking up the filth of my sin, having it slop all over Him, and then, guilty of having my sin on His hands, He's executed in my place.  Then, He returns, somehow even more alive than before and, with a smile, points at the narrow way and says to me, follow.  In awe I ask, Lord, why me?


Sandy Gordon said...

You're safe! My memory fails me as to your toys...but I can't imagine your not having a matchbox vehicle or two. Love, Mom

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