My moments with local children outside the walls of my classroom are few and far between, and I have found that my heart automatically speeds up with any eye contact with a child. God is using their big, almond shaped brown eyes to draw me in, and soften my heart for these people. Yes Christy, they too are people, with stresses in their own lives, hurts, pains, and passions. They too need a smile to lighten their load. Every soft encounter I have with a child here breaks one more of the barriers I have arrogantly placed between me and the locals who share this city with me. Upon my arrival, I was too quick to put up the walls, too quick to make up my mind about who they are, how they need to change, and what they need to learn about my world. The walls remain. Every time my eyes lock with a little one here, or a woman looks sweetly at me through her veil, I freeze...the Spirit is breaking me down. Tonight my building's guard smiled at me for the first time. What normally is an awkward encounter of language issues and miscommunication ending with a frown and severe frustration was traded in for a moment of grace. For the first time I saw him as a man trying to care for his family, working hard to serve me by protecting my home.
Last week a girl followed me through the street practicing all the English she knew. She told me how she is afraid of birds, lions, and tigers...that she is eleven years old and is learning English at school. As I turned the corner and left her behind I was convicted that I don't talk more with the local children. Why is my heart so guarded? Tonight as I was leaving my flat a girl said "HELLO, are you the teacher that lives here?" Since I never interact with random neighbors I froze, "I most certainly am," I replied, gushing with the 3 seconds of positive interaction I was blessed with. I smiled...thank you Lord, oh how I needed that.
What I can't seem to understand is why I am so hard on even the women I encounter daily? The coldness I automatically feel is sin...but what is the root? Is it because at first glance I assume they are judging me for my western heritage? Or am I angry at them all for a few rude past encounters? I am thanking my Father for the opportunities to reflect, and how a simple smile has done a miracle in my attitude toward these people. A smile really does go a long way...now I await them with great anticipation. For they are part of my personal transformation.