As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19
One warm and windy Friday afternoon, my Jordanian and American friends drove from Amman into the countryside for a picnic. The winter rains were finished, and it was time to settle into the sun.
We ate chicken and rice and drank too much coffee. We compared our religions, Christianity and Islam, and how they are part of our lives and communities. We practiced our Arabic and English, joking about the same Internet videos and photos. We took turns playing music, turning it up because we could. As the sun began to set, we made our way back to Amman, continuing to talk and laugh.
I highly value the memories of this afternoon. Maybe because it was representative of many of my days in the Middle East. Maybe because it was a cherished time with friends, the types of friends that you begin to miss months before you leave them. Maybe it was the juxtaposition of this afternoon in the face of global politics and perceptions of the ‘other.’ Maybe it was the weather and the thawing life that comes with spring. Most likely it was all of this.
The amount of tragedy in the world can break us, leaving us confused on what to do, how to move on, and where to go forward. But thinking back on that afternoon, and the many like it, I know there is still a lot of life in the world. And there is plenty of hope and power to protect and nurture it as we figure out how to move forward.
Nathaniel Bailey serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem/Orthodox Initiative (OI) in Jordan. His appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.