If wisdom had a face, it would have been that of the stoic figure who stood before me awaiting my placement of a bracelet upon her wrist. She had walked for miles and more than likely hours, just for a chance to see someone in our medical clinic that could help her.
She must have been well into her 80’s as she wore her colorful muslim attire. Yet no expression could be found upon her face as I carefully placed the bracelet on her left wrist. She just quietly looked down and watched patiently as I peeled the sticker off and secured her bracelet to her wrist.
As I finished, not knowing what to even say, she did something I will never forget..
She gracefully lifted her head up and looked directly into my eyes, and as she flashed a big smile from which seemed to span from here to the moon, she lifted up that left hand with the bracelet now firmly on it, and as if to show it off to me and say thank you… she gave me a THUMBS UP.
What?!! I was never good at hitting the curve ball, but this was completely out of left field.
I sat there for what seemed like an eternity and just looked back into her eyes as I was drawn in by what seemed like such deep gratitude for something so simple as a bracelet. For her, perhaps it represented hope in that she might finally find relief or even an answer for that long suffering ailment.
For me, all I could do is stand there in the moment and smile back. No translators. Just me and her. If a split second could last a thousand moments, this was it. If one could recall a moment of pure joy and then multiply that by a hundred, it wouldn’t be enough to describe what I felt in that very moment.
She knew it and I knew it. We knew not the others’ language. But, what we did know was perhaps something much more deeper. At least I like to think we did.
It gets me thinking that beyond the frozen perceptions of the day’s headlines, perhaps there is a Hope beyond all understanding? As I sit here and think back on that moment, I ponder… perhaps all things are indeed possible?
Two people with so much not in common yet what we do have in common is this… the same Hands made us both.
How now shall I view my neighbor?
Over 9,000 miles from home, and yet.. I will never receive a thumbs up as meaningful as that.. ever… again. Perhaps someday I will begin to unpack what really had just happened. But for now, this is more than enough for me.
“Overflowingly” enough for me.
Pondering my Rwanda experience..