To say and feel that we really belong to each other is much easier when living, playing, and working alongside those who are often excluded from that realm of belonging. The people we got to know in Uganda have lives beyond our temporary time together. And as I slouch on my so-comfy-that-it-works-as-well-as-AdvilPM couch to write this post, I’m distracted in just imagining how the people we met in Uganda spent the day.
I know none of them were on a couch as comfortable as mine, and I feel guilty about that. But I feel even more undeserving of how comfortable I feel in my townhouse. It is my home: a shelter from the storm or a shade-giving tree from the equatorial sun or even just a deep, overdue exhale after having been stuck on the inhale all day. Imagining their day without a home and its release to return to is just really sad. And, when I was there, I did my best to create a make-shift, albeit unstable, home within a conversation – a space for that exhale – because I think that a lot of people (myself included) are in a desperate search to find someone that makes them feel heard and listened to.
You see, sometimes I think the best we can do is meet the people in front of us as if they are ourselves. And I think that would work if everyone did that, but not all people do. I, for one, know I could do better.
And what do we do about those that are not cared for and met by the people around them? Well, we can put ourselves in front of them so that we can care for and meet them, and they can likewise care for and meet us. And some might say to let them care for themselves so as not to create a culture of dependence. But we, all of us, desperately and deeply need each other. So, these acts of meeting and caring are not one-way exchanges from giver to receiver but instead a mutual sharing in which we become more human in our recognized need to be with one another.
The problem is that the people I met in Uganda are no longer the people in front of me in Omaha. But, I am grateful for all that I learned and what was shared with me by them and can use that to better meet the people in front of me here.
All this is to say, I’m thinking about and miss the people we met in Uganda. And want nothing more than to be sharing in a life-giving conversation with them as we sip (that’s for you John) on drinks (Herbert’s Well 2.0) on my so-comfy-that-it-works-as-well-as-AdvilPM couch.
I think I’m going to nap on my couch now.