Discovering a Highway to Love: A Dare to Live Differently

29 Aug 2016

Untisam chuckled as she watched me copy her spinning the large wooden spoon-like thing called a ‘Mufrak’ to stir the ochre and dill sauce. I didn’t quite have the knack yet… I will keep trying.

Manal also watched laughing and said, “Tomorrow I will teach you again to make Keesera.” Keesera is a local flat bread, loved by all. I hadn’t yet mastered that one either.

Last week as I started to chop some greens I had found at the market, Bibi, our neighbor who helps Chris build said, “No, no, you need to get Habooba to teach you hoodra. Go and get her.”

I wasn’t planning to spend a long time making lunch, but Bibi wouldn’t let me do it alone. So I trundled next door with Manny in tow to see if Habooba had time to help me.

Of course she did!

With great delight she took me through the steps of making Hoodra. She chuckled with delight as she watched Chris and I enjoy eating one of her favourites.

It’s now 3 weeks since we moved into our new place.

I have been so blessed to have help and friendship from women such as these as I learn to do life here. They invite me into their homes, spend time with me and teach me how to live daily.

These women have seen some of my more stressed moments.

Yet, they have come and helped me as I flapped the straw fan to no avail over the charcoal stove.

They have picked up Manny when he was frazzled and I was trying to get stuff done.

They have started washing dishes for me without asking, because that is what women do here.

They live in an interdependent community.

They do life TOGETHER!

I have not experienced community life quite like this before. There is something very beautiful about it but also, I’m realizing, there is a vulnerability to sharing life so dependently.

The reality is that life is too difficult alone as a mother. The women are teaching me that I need their help. One had even said to me, as she helped me in the kitchen one day, “Us women, we need each other. We need to share the work.”

As I reflected on how much I need help from the women here and the love that I felt as they shared their life with me, the words of Paul to the church ran through my mind,

‘We loved you so much, we shared not only the gospel but our lives with you.’

Whilst doing an early breast feed a few days ago, I read a story of a man interviewing people in a strongly Muslim country, questioning what made a good worker from the West.

The man doing the interview travelled to five different locations within a country and asked the same question. Each time he got the same response, “We cannot tell you what makes a good worker, but we can tell you about the worker we love.”

And they proceeded to name the same person. When questioned as to why, they explained that ‘when that man’s father died and he did not have enough money to go home and bury his father, he did not go to other Westerners to borrow money; he came to us.’ And they shared other examples of when this man needed their help.

“So this is why we love him. He needs us. The rest of you workers have never needed us.”

I was stunned by their response. These people loved this man because he needed them.

Needing others requires humility and an often-uncomfortable vulnerability before others. It’s often more comfortable to be the strong one with all the answers, who can manage on their own, especially from our Western worldview.

What does it look like to live our lives open and vulnerable?

What else does the bible say

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

I thought of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He asked her for a drink. He had a need. He was thirsty. As He exposed His need to her, she opened her heart to the living water He had on offer.

May we dare to humble ourselves, expose our needs and share our lives with those around us.

This is the low way.

It is also the highway of love.

Love Nadia

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