Seeing God working in our children’s lives is a privilege. Seeing the divine in the everyday moments is something I am learning and Annikah is helping teach me..
Some days I hate the market. The smell, the heat, the crowds. And then on some days there are the young punks who insist on calling out disrespectful things to me (or any Mzungu) because they think I cannot understand them. I may not catch every word but let’s just say I have learned to understand the jest of what they are saying. Being demeaned feels the same in any language.
Last week I had one of these days. I had Evy strapped to my back and was holding Anni’s hand as we made our way through the narrow and muddy streets in town carrying our woven baskets full of food. My quest was simple enough; get some yogurt, veggies, and a gift for a friend and get out of there. It was hot people and I was losing patience after being hassled and sweating like crazy while negotiating the price of carrots and onions. Suffice it to say I was not feeling the culture on this morning.
Finally we were done and started winding back through the streets to make our way home. I was dashing at this point in pure desperation to be done and to be on to the next thing. We passed by shops and countless “Jambo!” greetings most of which I ignored because I was just not feeling it. I heard a faint female voice greet Annikah but in our hurry and my apathy we just kept going. About a minute later Annikah squeezed my hand and said “Mama, we should go back to that lady. She salamia (greeted) us and we just walked by and she only has one leg. Remember her?”
In that instant I weighed my options. I did remember her. We were already a good ways past this woman who we had given change to and talked with several times before. It was hot, like sweltering hot, muddy, dirty, and I was tired. I had lots of good excuses (don’t we all?) And I had a bad attitude…I allowed life to wreck me this particular day. Just being real. But it was something in the way she said it and the gentle squeeze of my hand that God used to speak to me. Anni gently reminded me that if indeed I do want to follow after Jesus then I would not simple walk by and let the scoffing of strangers, the heat, or my personal discomfort dictate my attitude towards an image bearer of God. If I really believe and take serious His call we had to go back. I was reminded that I am raising a special little girl.
A little girl that responds to the Holy Spirit and has not been hardened by life. And that is a gift for me. That in my child I can see more of His love.
We turned around and walked back to where Anni thought she heard the woman greet us. She was there leaning against a duka door with a sun bleached kanga wrapped snug around her small frame, her makeshift crutches were next to her. Anni reached out her hand and respectfully greeted the woman who then leaned down and touched Anni’s cheek and thanked her. Her wide smile revealed her 4 remaining teeth and a kind, sweet spirit. I apologized for walking so quickly by and told her my daughter reminded me that God wants us to make time for people even when we are in a hurry. She agreed that I should listen to Annikah more and we laughed. We asked if we could pray a blessing for us all and she grabbed my hand and agreed. And we stood together in the narrow street with chaos around us and asked God to be there. And I acknowledged He already was.