Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Purpose Driven City Slickers

Last night I slept on the ground overlooking the Mohana Plains, at the foot of the….

It was an experience that trumped "City Slickers", as I did this with four extraordinary and very purpose-driven guys from the US, each with their novel life stories, each with their own great achievements, joys, burdens, fears, and hopes,… each determined to seek and serve Him, and each always searching for clarity as to what that actually means in this ocean of need called Planet Earth. Randy, Mark, Forrest and Tom (another “Tom”) are all leaders among those determined to give generously, but equally determined that their generous giving will have its maximum transformational impact,... and in fact are NOT "city slickers" at all.

Rather than writing “I slept on the ground overlooking the Mohana Plains,” it is much more accurate to explain how I awoke on the ground overlooking the Mohana Plains. It was indeed an awakening experience: Nature called approximately Midnight, as is so developmentally “age-appropriate” for me. What I discovered, I was compelled to embrace rather than squander by sleep. So I remained up, doing an Indian tiptoe through the dark, sitting on a rock, and lying on my back and witnessing a shootout among the stars.

Although there was occasional dead silence, my ears were generally filled with a symphony of sounds such as I had never before heard, all in surround sound, causing my head to turn rapidly to and fro,… sitting in a forest Where the Wild Things Are.

Some of the strange sounds I heard seemed to convey messages of life and death, including the flame of the kerosene lantern which was flickering in its death throes. I watched. Listened. Pondered. Reflected. And I related and considered many inescapable existential questions, including What might remain,… what should I hope to remain, when my light goes out?

Questions and silent conversation raged, but in time, all I heard was “Be still and know that I am God,”… so I was still, and I closed my eyes, and I nodded off,…

... until I ultimately awoke to Forrest humming the Doxology into the darkness with only a slight sliver of first light. I alighted and joined Forrest for a SonRise, as my light is not yet out, and an end of the day journal entry G.K. Chesterton came to me:

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world ‘round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

Getting there can be half the fun...
 in two Robinson R 44 helicopters manufactured in my hometown,
 with doors off at our request.

 First copter down, unloading at our campsite.
 Strafing a herd of buffalo
 Strafing giraffe
 ...and zebra
Friends,... and Giraffe makes three
(with Forrest Reinhardt)
 Hippos to the left of me, crocs to my right, here I am:
stuck in the middle again.
  This Big Boy was spectacular,... but we were admonished:
This is not a circus Petting Zoo
and that he is extraordinarily dangerous.
As occasionally happens, a visitor recently asked or said something last week that was suggestive of the sacrifice of living here in Africa. I looked around wondering to whom was he speaking. Indeed, I am blessed beyond description.