Friday, June 11, 2010

For minutes at a time ...

Looking at a picture I just took ...
I enjoy little children for minutes at a time.  A mother hands me her baby to hold, which I enjoy. They're on loan, though, and I give them back after a few minutes.

He's wearing my glasses, just for fun ...
I'm impressed by teachers and others who do what I can't, spending day after day with children, doing the hard work of forming their minds and shaping their behavior.

Africa affects me similarly. I enjoy being there for a few days or weeks at a time. After that, I lack the durability to face the real life circumstances. My wife accompanied me there recently and reported similarly that it was both a joy and a tremendous blow to her heart to meet people there and care about them.

So then, I have a short list heroes in Africa; they're are on the ground there, serving our brothers and sisters in such practical ways. They do it day after day, week, month, years. They do all the things I cannot, and they do it with grace and compassion.

Ned Seligman, for example. He's the director of a little NGO in Sao Tome that serves the communities so well, so practically, and with such insight. He's been doing it for decades; it's his life. It almost cost him his life, now that I think of it. I was with him a couple of months ago in his office; it was a wonderful help for me to hear him describe the practicalities of serving.

So here I am at the beginning of a long summer; hot and muggy.  All in all, if it's gonna be hot anyway, I'd rather be in Africa.