Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Love There Is Hope

Written for the MCC Ontario Annual General Meeting 2007

How easy it would be to write cliche after cliche; a story of the happiness I see in the midst of the poverty, or better yet the story of the man whose home was in the middle of the water yet he still talked to us with such joy and radiance. There is no doubt, those are stories of hope and God's love, and often I celebrate those stories of God's love overcoming pain and hurt. In so many ways I wish I could only celebrate those stories of God's love through the pain, but that can be a challenge when normally all I see is poverty, pain and desperation. I wonder how the mother and her infant, begging on the street could possibly feel God's love. But we all experience God's love, and here in Bangladesh is no different.

When I think of God's love, I think of a man I met a few weeks ago. I was at a gathering of physically and mentally handicapped people, each with their own challenges and gifts. At the retreat there was a little man, I will call him Sir, he is about three and a half feet tall, and he loved me. He followed me almost everywhere I went for the entire retreat, and although people following me is a daily occurrence, it is not a part of Bangladesh I particularly enjoy. To add just slightly to my frustration at the situation, Sir's Bengali was so slurred and heavily accented that I could not understand a word he spoke. So there I was one evening, with Sir following me, when he suddenly asked me to take a picture of him. Now I was tired and I remember thinking to myself, "should I bother taking a picture, the lighting will be terrible, and it won't be a very good picture", but I ended up taking the picture anyway. Sir had a fun idea for the picture, he wanted a picture on the Honda! When else would he ever be able to drive a motorcycle? So I took the picture, nothing spectacular, partially washed out by the flash; but the moment Sir saw that picture a huge smile spread across his face. He preceded to show the picture to everyone he could find, with me in tow. I was finally told through my friend Supar what Sir was saying. He was telling everyone everyone, "that day was the happiest day of his life". Through this picture he finally felt a sense of power and control. He felt a sense of worth and he beat all odds, he was pictured riding a motorcycle. On that day, Sir felt God's love.

But what does that simple story say about God's love? To me it shows God's ability to work through the mundane. It was a mediocre picture, never going to win a prize, but that picture brought God's love to a man in the most joyous way possible. God's love can be so simple and so beautiful, and that is why this story is so meaningful to me when I think of God's love. Sometimes it is easier to see God's love in the big disasters or the worst situations, and this is vitally important, but to see God's love in the everyday and in the small things, for me this year, that is my challenge.


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