As if my stuffy nose wasn’t bad enough already, here I am sobbing in joy and sorrow simultaneously over the photos and videos coming out of South Africa across the miles and the miracle of the internet to my inbox. Good heavens.

Ever since I started reading William Faulkner in high school, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of parallel time. In the immortal words from the Lone Ranger, repeated beyond measure by my high school American History teacher, “Meanwhile, back at the ranch….” There’s this going on here and in the next house down the block, there’s that. Simultaneously. And around the world there’s this and across town there’s that. Simultaneously. I’m thinking this thought and you’re thinking that thought and somewhere it might intersect. This morning, I’m guzzling Compassion Tea Genmaicha Yamasakj (popcorn tea if you aren’t familiar) like an addict and simultaneously, Wendy’s in South Africa downloading photos from her day.

So far, she’s sent a video of the caregivers at 1000 Hills Community Helpers singing at their Monday morning meeting (check out our Facebook page to see the video) and photos of them receiving their medical kits.

Community Caregivers with their new medical kits

Community Caregivers with their new medical kits

Each kit has a stethoscope and other medical care supplies so that they can go into the community around 1000 Hills and check on people who are home-bound or who are in the more remote villages.

Wendy and Dawn Leppan get ready to distribute the kits.

Wendy and Dawn Leppan get ready to distribute the kits.

They’ve been taught basic medical care; they can assess a situation and determine if they can treat it with a band-aid or if it needs the medical attention of the clinic.

Stina teaches the Community Caregivers how to use their new stethoscopes

Stina teaches the Community Caregivers how to use their new stethoscopes

These men and women are so beautiful and I’m so thrilled that everything made it safely across the pond, through security and customs, and into the loving hands of these people on the front lines of serving the least served. I want to hug them all for their commitment to serving each other. Joy!

Next came a photo of Elphus, a man in the community with end stage AIDS.

Elphus in his tiny room

Elphus in his tiny room

He has a caregiver who keeps everything clean for him. Her photo came next.

Elphus' caretaker

Elphus’ caretaker

Beautiful. Poignant. God’s creation, His creative design. Another photo just popped up, this time of Elphus’ room.

Where Elphus lives

Where Elphus lives

There is story here, simultaneous events, threads unraveling and threads being woven together. I don’t know the story but the photos speak volumes. What do they say to you?

Yesterday in church we sang the hymn Ancient Words. Listen here.
Ancient words… ever true, changing me, changing you. We have come with open hearts. Oh let the ancient words impart. Holy words of our faith, handed down to this age, came to us through sacrifice. Oh heed the faithful words of Christ. Holy words long preserved, for our walk in this world. They resound with God’s own heart. Oh let the ancient words impart.

Do you see the connection? Ancient words spoken, divinely inspired, written in haste by vision and Spirit, devoured by the famished, held in the death grip of the beleaguered, fortress for the weak, battle-cry for the oppressed, peace and solace for the ending, words of hope. Think of the millions of voices raised in reading these words then and then and then, there and there and there. Simultaneously spoken here, shouted there, whispered in the basement or under the cover of night. These words of the ancients are so real and important today. For Elphus and his lady caregiver and they are the words in the song of the Community Helpers. Did you hear the hallelujah? It echoes my own quiet, stuffy nosed hallelujah here, half a world away, washed down with a cup of Compassion Tea.

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on compassiontea and commented:

    tea, tears, stethoscopes, AIDS… compassion


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