africa, in all its beauty & all its chaos

kathyescobar just because i thought it was fun 8 Comments

P1040248yeah, i needed a little break from church talk here & thought i’d shift gears today.

i wrote this little piece as a momento from africa, a marker & reminder of our time there and what it meant to me. i shared it at our denver voca femina live share party a few weekends ago & this past weekend at the refuge as part of our lent conversations. i thought i’d post it here, too. it’s more powerful and meaningful as a spoken piece instead of just being read on the screen, but instead of keeping it to myself, i’ll pass on a little more africa love.

it’s always good for my soul to remember.

africa, in all its beauty & all its chaos

i had always wanted to go to africa.
i had heard it gets under your skin and sewn into your bones.

that once you’re there, you can never shake it.

the beautiful red earth.
the beautiful black people with gorgeous white smiles
and hope that lights up the world.

a world of chaos and beauty
and beauty and chaos.

it’s a pitch black night with no power or water
a family sits in darkness
waiting for our visit
we stumble up the stairs, hands gripped tightly.
we follow our new friend’s lead.
one candle burns dimly in the corner
but 8 african smiles pierce through the darkness

“welcome, welcome to my home”
our host is so gracious.
so proud
of his dingy matchbox apartment that sometimes doesn’t have power for hours.

i can barely see their faces, 6 kids 2 grownups
in a space as big as some walk in closets.
we feel awkward.

in that moment i am sure i am on holy ground.
ground that oozes hope.
ground that oozes love.
ground that oozes light.

in a world of chaos and beauty. beauty and chaos.

africa, a land of
orphans taking in more orphans
songs rising to the heavens
joy springing up from the dust
rice filling bellies before bedtime
friends huddling on the side of the road warmed by the fire
peddlers scraping and scrounging

africa, a world of chaos and beauty
and beauty and chaos

and it’s not too long after i’m there
that all my brilliant mothering skills kick into gear
i start to feel desperate to make order out of the chaos
i start dreaming of ways to start filling in the potholes on every road
ship them into shape
infuse them with efficiency
use the wet wipes i have in my purse to clean way the grime
start sweeping away the rubble
to bring order out of chaos.

to make things neat and tidy.
tidy and neat.

the way i like them here even when they never are.

and then i see it more clearly.

their world of chaos and beauty, beauty and chaos.
my world of chaos and beauty, beauty and chaos.

in the pitch dark they have hope
in my pitch dark i get hopeless
in the potholes they smile and laugh
in my potholes i cringe and start to swear
in their rubble they see beauty
in my rubble i see ugly

yeah, africa, you got under my skin, you seeped into my bones

you reminded me yet again

there’s beauty in my chaos, chaos in my beauty.
beauty in our chaos, chaos in our beauty.

peace & hope to you in your beauty & your chaos.

ps: this picture is at nakuru state park, walking out on the lake to see the flamingos. i thought it was a good lent image, too. i have really enjoyed this season.  God’s stirring up some good stuff, more on that soon.