I was thinking today about how when I was in Rwanda, there were so many comforts that I missed from home. Simple things too, like running water, hot showers, toilets that flushed, and carpet under my feet. There were other things too like my mom’s cooking, my cell phone, a comfy pillow, privacy, alone time, etc…
And now I am home. I took a hot shower last night, every toilet I’ve used today has flushed, just had lunch (that my mom made), there is carpet under my feet as I type this, and I am alone in the study. And strangely enough, now I miss comforts of a different sort. I miss late-night conversations with Georgie underneath our mozzy net. I miss Arun poking his head in our window, asking “Do you need your iPod charged?” I miss Rene pulling me aside randomly and hugging me tightly. I miss the walks Taz and I used to go on, where she’d just encourage me the whole time, telling me, reminding me of who I am in Christ. Oh how I miss these things!
You see, I think when there is a lack of physical comforts, you turn to people, and the joy that they bring you becomes comfort to you. Truth be told, I can live without a flushing “loo” or bread and bananas for breakfast every morning… I’ve done it, so I know.
The Africans are onto something though. In African culture, people (and the relationship you have with them) are valued above all else. You drop everything to talk to your neighbor, you can get distracted at the market, but it’s okay, because people are more important than your daily agenda.
And I really, really miss that. I miss people who will listen to what I say, because they truly want to hear the words I say. I miss being hugged- the kind of hug that feels like they’ll never let you go. I miss it.
When I think back to the past six months, what I treasured the most was my relationships. I felt so loved and so accepted by the people with whom I spent my time. I wish I had taken advantage of it more.
Maybe we just show love differently here in America. Or maybe we are just so busy with our “comforts” that we forget just how valuable people are…
what do you think?