Today was the first day of my kid free week, and I headed into the city to meet some friends from church at the museum. As I was driving thru the city, I was stopped at a stop light and a small, older lady was crossing the street. She was dressed as you would expect someone from maybe Africa to dress, a beautiful, flowing, printed dress. A printed cloth wrapped around her head. She walked as if she were weighed down by something. Not something physical. No, it was as if her spirit were weighed down. I wondered if she was from another land... here trying to eke out a living far from home and family and everything familiar. I imagined her tearful parting from those she loves. I see her loved ones gathered around saying goodbye; proud of her courage, yet mourning her presence that would be gone from their everyday lives. I think of those last minutes before her departure.Walking around her home, her village for the last time, running her finger over the door jam of her house. Sighing at the memories, good and bad, that shaped her life. Shaped who she is and what she will become. What thoughts were going thru her mind as she walked away that last day... knowing she may never return??
At the museum there was an exhibit about women who came from places like Rwanda. Women who escaped unthinkable fear and danger. Women who had to walk as much as 8 miles each day... or worse, send their daughters, to get firewood so they could cook for their family. And knowing that there was a good chance that they would be attacked... or worse, while on that mission. Women whose bravery humbles me. Women who feared for their lives on a daily basis. Who had to chose which of their children they would carry with them as they ran for their lives, knowing those left behind would almost certainly be killed. And even after living thru things no human should live through, they still have a joy and a courage and a peace that speaks to GOD's amazing peace. These women came here because of terrible circumstances, yet they are not bitter, and they are not living as victims. They are embracing America as their new home, they are working and excited about the opportunities available to them. They are ready for any new challenges life throws at them. It amazes me.
When I saw that woman walking this morning, I didn't know about the exhibit at the museum. But it all fits together. I wonder if she was one of the women who made the pieces on display there. Even if she isn't, she has a story. I pray it's a happy one.