(Mom died in 2005 and a couple months after she died I heard her say, plain as day, “time is different here.” I’m still waiting to hear what comes next…)
You know, Mom I can’t honestly say if I heard you actually say these words or if they have become one of my companioning phrases.
Duncan was driving Gamma, Linda and me to Mukura settlement where John works with the folks from Emory’s Public Health School. We were going to meet the folks and to hear about their work.
Driving in Nairobi is not for the faint of heart. Being a passenger in a moving vehicle on the streets of Nairobi is an act whose main purpose seems to check where you are with the Lord. Kyrie Eleison.
We were halfway to Mukuru and the trip had pendulumed from air whooshing into the backseat window to the other side where we were dead-stopped in traffic. My mind had been racing. Mostly I was listening for Duncan’s soft British-accented voice telling us of the city. I could see hundreds of people walking along the road and stand after stand after stand along the way of wares for sale. Everything was bright and alive.
Somewhere along our drive, Mom, your phrase filled my heart: “time is different here.” With these words came an understanding and somehow I found myself leaning into what was coming at me in all directions. I felt like you were with us on this drive ~ and for that I was fully and completely grateful.
You would be in constant awe of Africa, Mom. You would be “inhaling” all the time ~ the people and colors and flowers and sounds and smells and birds and trees. You would never sleep ~ there wouldn’t be a chance to do that.
Feeling your presence in those words brought a loving perspective. With it I felt able to relax into all that was so brand new around me.
And your words bridged me back to the Holy, the Eternal. To the one who was, who is and who will be. Here.
Thanks for your words, Mom. They truly were a gift. Asante sana.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.