Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Mariakani, Kenya (there's at least one alien in this town)
There are places where the world's strangest people live.  They're aliens. You can sneak into their world and hang around them and be forever changed for having done so.  Happier perhaps, or nobler or wiser or even nicer.
'Nice' wasn't ever on my list of goals.  It's what some people did because they were soft inside; at least that's how I saw it when I was a kid.  It took sixty years to realize that there is a depth and breadth to the alien heart that with great strength and magnificent selflessness can touch a life and in a moment, change it forever.
Having met a few such stunning creatures in my travels, I find that my heart is happy to be wherever they are.  The place may be harsh and the circumstances may be uncomfortable, but I find that I want to be around those strange, immortal creatures who willingly open their hearts to others and lay down their lives.

It isn't just an African thing of course, although I think that's where I began to see the aliens clearly, perhaps for the first time with understanding.  A pastor I met in Kenya is undoubtedly one.  I realize now, we'd unknowingly welcomed aliens into our lives when we were newlyweds and  assigned overseas.  We even went to church with them! We came to live where we do now because of just one such soul.  We remember with deep appreciation those few along the way who similarly conveyed us into a realm we hadn't known.  What a journey it has been.

I realize now, decades after his passing, my father must have been an alien.  And I'm suspicious about my wife.

Oh, good grief; now a kid I work with is making alien noises.  

(So what are the aliens up to?  You'd think they were maybe trying to change the world or something like that.)