Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)
TITLE: arroz y frijoles
By Gretchen Paxton
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As we continue to bump along the make shift road in silence, tears fall down my cheeks, softly. They roll silently and I let them continue, not even trying to wipe them away. I can tell there are more to come, so why bother? Not to mention there is a sense of connection to the dump in the tears. A deeper bonding because, these aren’t tears of pity, they aren’t even tears of sorrow like you’d probably expect. Rather they are tears of overwhelmed-ness. Blown away by the magnitude and depth of God’s love. As we drive by hundreds of people picking with bare hands through what others have deemed worthless, in the hopes of finding things that can be recycled. I see the magnitude of God’s love and providence for all of us. What stewards of the earth they are! We are infinitely blessed that they are saving space in our crowded landfills. I think about Buddy, a homeless guy that goes through the dumpster at work looking for cans. It breaks my heart that anyone would go through garbage for a living, but I also have a deep respect for their creative ingenuity. What a way to play the hand your dealt?
A flock of sea gulls raises in unison from the dump up into the sunny blue sky and God’s words keep ringing in my ears, ‘I love them’. I see Zephaniah 3:19-20 and I let the truth of how God sees them yoke me with the dump and those in it. Etching in my mind, how temporary our present circumstances are, in light of eternity with God. And I think of dancing with them in heaven some day, and smile.
We roll past a guy my age in a black hat sitting high atop a truck so weighted with boxes the bottom almost hits the ground. He smiled and it was as if someone threw a bucket of water on me. The haze broke, I was back, fully present in the moment. My face lit up as I smiled. He was eating from a little cup, yogurt maybe, and raised his hand with a spoon in it and made a peace sign. Our eyes locked as I returned it and we were both blessed in that moment. He had no reason to smile at me. Yet while filthy and sitting on a 10-foot stack of boxes he had pulled from mountains of garbage, he did?
And as we leave the dump, I’m singing that song, “you are so good to me, you heal my broken heart, you are beautiful, my sweet, sweet, song,…” just letting the song out in prayer. One after another my van mates voices join in. We join in this bittersweet rejoicing and praise to God, this spontaneous expression of deep calls to deep. Words seem limp and inadequate in expressing the magnitude of the moment and silence seems to isolate, so we sing. It bound each of us together, seeing this experience through God’s eyes rather than our own, and praising him in it. Covered in God’s truth, not the US and THEM word view we came into the dump with, but God’s truth, his love for ALL of us. It was easy to see that God’s love is thick around us all. And I rejoiced driving away from the dump – the last thing I thought I’d be doing.
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