Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
It was the last week of April and, as usual, we were taking our weekly walk down the tiny trails trying to get to know our neighbors. We had been in Paraguay about seven months when talk of Mother’s Day rolled around. While we visited that day I noticed a lot of small children. It’s not uncommon for a struggling family to still have six or more kids.
I looked at the economic condition of these people living in what amounted to lean-to’s. Two, sometimes three walls of split coco-palm logs lashed together with vines and topped with grass provided cover from rain. I knew they didn’t have many possessions. I thought how sad it must be for these mothers to watch their little ones grow up and not have any memorabilia of their childhood. Seeing all these little ones bouncing around an idea bounced into my head.
I decided, with each family’s permission, that I would take photos of the kids, have them printed, and mount them in a simple frame as a gift for these hard-working moms. So off we went, walking the 2 ½ kilometers away from the dirt road down foot paths. We spent the afternoon convincing our neighbors that we were not with the CIA and that we were not going to profit from the photos.
I began to snap shots and chat. The more we chatted the more photos we took. Not all of the photos were of the kids; some were of other members of this community. One in particular was of an elderly couple. They were sisters who had lived many years out in these woods. They were probably in their late 60’s and looked enough alike that it was clear they were siblings. I took their picture and told them we would be back to bring the gift in a few days.
Two weeks passed and we had our photos printed and put in sturdy frames. We piled them in bags and trudged off down the dusty path. After the first couple of drop-offs the kids ran ahead and word spread. Folks were waiting on us as we got close to their homes. Everyone was thrilled with their memories in hand. Then, maybe the oddest thing in my life happened.
One of the sisters came to get their photo while the other had gone to the creek to fetch water. When she took it, my wife pointed to her face in the picture, saying the word for pretty. The woman asked who it was. We stood there stunned.
By that question she was telling us that she didn’t know what she looked like.
She didn’t have a mirror. She shared clothing with her sister, so that didn’t tip her off. They had no transportation and lived nearly two miles from the closest road that could accommodate a vehicle. They had lived there much of their lives down that winding trail. I don’t know if she had never seen her face reflected or if it had been so long that she had forgotten, but I was caught totally off guard.
Of all the things I take for granted, never once has my reflection even made the list. My wife pointed her out again in the photo, and the lady said “Are you sure?”
She started touching her hair and face and straightening her clothes like women do. She touched her face with one hand and her image with the other. While we stood there trying to shake away the shock the other woman came back from the creek.
Our friend called out for her to come and see the photo we had brought. The other sister came and looked and asked, “Which one am I?”
This time her sister pointed out “They said this is me and that one is you.” The second sister primped a little and asked the same question as the first, “Are you sure?”
There are days I get up and I go to my bathroom and look into that mirror. I wonder, “Who is that guy looking at me?” Then I hear the whisper of my God speak something to my soul and tell me who I am. Stunned I stare back and ask “Are you sure?”
Have you ever forgotten who you are? Do you trust God when He tells you who you are?