Last Friday, just a few days after we arrived in Gulu, we headed to the field to watch the last day of the Empower (Trauma Therapy) sessions, that included over 125 men and women who had war related trauma from the LRA war that ended about 10 years ago. While the session was going a woman was crawling her way on her hands and knees all they way from her village. She was happy to be there even though she arrived about half way through. (See photo at bottom, she is wearing blue sitting in the very front).
At the end of the session everyone told us good bye..she crawled over and shook our hands. Then everyone departed to their own villages and she, one by one was left to crawl home alone. I couldn’t bare to watch so I turned around and headed for the vehicle, tears in my eyes. It was hot, dusty and the wind was blowing the dust into the air, as she crawled right through it.
In that moment, I sat thinking of the bible times, when the lame were told by Jesus or His disciples to ‘get up and walk’. I thought of the humility it would take one to crawl to an event like this, when she would arrive so late and everyone would notice her coming. Then you add in bible time that she would be shamed because it would have been looked upon as thought her sin or sins of her family would have cursed her and she would have been deemed unclean. Unable to have relationships with people, unable to offer sacrifices at the temple, no forgiveness, no grace. To be rejected instead of accepted. To hear ‘Get up and walk” meant so much more than the ability to walk, it meant forgiveness, healing, relationships, grace, love, acceptance.
I wanted to say to this woman, “get up and walk”and then rejoice as she was being set free. I don’t know why I thought this but I couldn’t help but ask..what if? oh to have been there to see one person who was lame to be set free. What rejoicing!
Here in Uganda, bible stories, they mean something different. Washing the disciples feet, I get that more now. We walk everyday in sandals, in red clay dust everywhere we go. By the end of the day our feet are filthy dirty, dried, wrinkled, dirt imbedded under every nail. The heals of our feet are being shredded as the heat and sand take its toll. But how beautiful the picture, when I can look down at these dirty, filthy feet of mine and know that this is what Jesus was saying when HE washed their feet. I can’t explain what happens to your heart when God draws these parallels and shows you the bible in such a different way, in such a personal way..His love..its unspeakable..indescribable.
He is good, kind, gracious, loving, long-suffering, gentle, humble,forgiving and HE IS LOVE!