Saturday, October 13, 2007
Too many friends?
Is it possible to have too many friends? On a Saturday morning I can feel that way, even though it is supposed to be a day of catching up or a slower pace, a day to organize marketing and make a week’s worth of granola. But today I wonder when the catching up will catch, because the day is already half over. Here is the truth. Before 8 a.m. I had been visited by: one of my worker’s wives who has chronic abdominal pain issues; the mother of Kabasunguzi Grace, whom I stopped to greet at her home last week, so now she was coming to tell me Kabasunguzi’s problems; a baby with meningomyelocele whom I had sponsored for surgical care wanting to return for follow-up; a Christ School teacher with his sick child, now a bright little Kindergartener, whom I’ve been caring for since she was born; a former student bringing Luke a fancy “wishing you well on exams” card who stayed for breakfast. By noon the visits included a nice long chat with Jonah about the depressing death rate on the Paediatric ward and corruption and work ethic and perseverance, a handful of team mates just being friendly or with some small issue or illness, a handicapped girl I sponsored long ago for a year at CSB who now was trying to start a soap business, Kabajungu Margaret reporting that she did not ever get to see the doctor last trip to Mulago and needed to go back Monday, another small friend needing condolence and lunch after the death of his grandfather meant he walked to Congo and back this week, another student whom I care for with a chronic medical problem and shoes that needed glue to hold back together. Every single one of these visits came from someone I know and care about, someone with whom I have relationship, someone whom I am genuinely happy to see and talk to and where appropriate help (there were a few others in there I’m not mentioning, like a one month old with the entire back of his scalp eaten away by an aggressive skin infection), these were all friends whom I would WANT to feel comfortable coming to see me. This is part of living in a community, of developing connection. But this community is a jungle, a place where winters do not limit growth, where flowers turn into trees and vines can strangle a house, a place of life ever increasing. After 14 years the complex web of relationship becomes ungainly, sometimes difficult to hold up. I know Jesus’ answer: escape to the mountaintop for all night prayer, for early morning refreshment. He was able to be present and genuine with his friends, not harried or hurried. I long for that, to give my children and husband the love they need, to cook healthy meals and maintain some order in the house, while still attending to those who come to see me. Saturdays I can either feel the amazing grace that we have so many friends, or feel desperate for amazing grace to speak kindly and listen attentively.