Freedom · God · Inspiration · Life Story

EATING WITH MY HANDS CHANGED MY LIFE

Two years ago, I flew over the ocean to Africa with some super amazing people, to meet some amazing people. My heart beat with excitement and my eyes 1176239_10201310693223568_1404775709_nwidened in fear of the unknown. I had lain awake many nights trying to picture what it would be like when we landed in Zambia. What the people would be like, the culture, the landscape. I had covered all the images that my mind had tucked away over the years. But pictures don’t prepare you for stepping foot into a place where nothing is familiar.

From the moment my feet hit the soil in Livingston, my eyes began consuming and my lips became silent. I felt even the smallest differences in my very being, 1237285_10201310698663704_976963262_othe trees…the fruit and veggies splayed out along the road on our long drive from the airport. The dirt roads for miles. The “bathroom breaks” that consisted of stopping along the side of the road near tall grass and  “men on the left, women on the right”.1271428_10201310960630253_1130083815_o

 

 

 

 

It was all different and my soul screamed “You need this, old girl. You need shaken out of your ways!”

I don’t remember how long it was after we arrived at Mission of Love  Orphanage that this next moment took place, but it is the moment I want to share about in this post. There was a meal that ended up changing my life.

I just remember 1240112_10201310830306995_1007779288_nsitting near the local women, being asked if I liked fish. “Yes I love fish!” Tuna, tilapia, salmon… but then these crunchy little fish bodies and heads landed on my plate and I wondered “Do I really like fish after all?” Along with the fish came Nshima, a mushy corn substance that it seems no traditional meal there is without. And most often accompanied with fried cabbage or beans.

 

We washed our hands over a bucket
1294590_10201310867467924_737435314_oof water. I then watched as the other women mashed the Nshima up in their fist, pressed it and used it to scoop the other food up. They made it look fun and even though I had the option of a fork…”When in Rome…”. So I mashed and I scooped and I shoveled food into my mouth with my damp fingers. I can’t lie, it was liberating! It was one of many moments when my way of life would come nose to nose with the truth that it was not the only way of life.

I know, I know, of all the stories, why do I tell this one? Of all the amazing moments and memories and people, why this? Because this is what I thought of tonight as I my mind was whirling through all it’s anxious thoughts and all it’s worries about life and measuring up to certain standards.

You see, too often we approach life with an ingrained and often anxiety producing set of assumptions. We assume we must do it this way because it is just the way! How everyone else does it and how it has always been done. And we never once question if it MUST be done that way. We face life with a “We don’t do that here. We can’t live like that, say that, wear that, go without that” attitude. We must have this, we won’t give that up, we couldn’t think of saying that,  we wouldn’t dare do something that NO ONE DOES!

And I’m not saying we should all eat with our hands …although I highly recommend the experience. The thing is, after sticking my fingers in my mouth, crunching down on little fishy heads, wearing the same clothes over and over. Showering less, walking more, sitting in a church with a dirt floor and being with some amazing people that have chosen to live their life in this invironment,…after experiencing life that was not anywhere within the status quo of my country, I realized that status quo is often just a line of fear that the fearful fight to reach and dread to cross.

And tonight I was fighting to reach that line again. But this story came to my mind. And I needed to remember it. Maybe you did too.

When I came back home after Africa, I was not the same. I felt more free than I ever had. The things we think that we have to have….we mostly don’t actually have to have. The standards we follow and try to measure up to are just a tiny piece of this world. The status quo, the normal, all that stuff we freak out about is mostly stuff that only exists in our little bubble. Eating with my hands was just an introduction to how diverse life is and how narrow sighted we get here.

And what is so crazy is to realize that in every culture, God is there. His love and presence dwells in all corners of the earth. We don’t  have a “White God” or an English speaking Jesus. We don’t get to be Christians that make Christ American. We can not afford to let the style of our culture dictate to us what God wants of our lives. He may call us to step out of the norm, to jump into the unknown. To follow Him into the wild. To say what no one else is saying and live like no one else around us is living.And He might even ask us to eat with our hands. 😉 Whatever it is, it will be amazing!

 

 

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14 thoughts on “EATING WITH MY HANDS CHANGED MY LIFE

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I know that our world is too small. We think our world is just what we see. It is such a blessing that you were able to go beyond the walls and embrace the cultures. I am so wimpy, but I pray that should God ever give me the opportunity, that I would be like you and adapt. No, our way is not the only way, nor does it mean that our way is the right way. Our God is a big God. Loved your post! That first dish though? Looked scary! Great, great post!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a BIG wimp! I get nervous when I have to get my oil changed! lol Any situation that I feel out of my element in makes me want to run! I once read a quote that said “Do it afraid”. Don’t wait to feel ready, just say yes to God and trust Him!
      I think you probably have a lot of spunk in you from your posts. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a little girl here in South Africa, a full lifetime ago, I was privileged to be fed nuggets of putupap – a distant cousin of Zambia’s nshima – straight from the three-legged pot that stood over the coals. I still remember the delicious wood smoke flavour…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you love it?! It was a bit hard to get used to for me, but I grew to enjoy it and it was VERY filling. You must have had so many unique experiences growing up!
    I wish I could read your posts! haha Are they in Afrikaans?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, a ten-year-old loves that kind of adventure!
      “Pap” (an Afrikaans word) is a staple in the north of South Africa. It’s made from corn (“mielies” in Afrikaans) and comes in different forms: “slappap” for breakfast (soft in texture, eaten with milk and sugar) and “stywepap” served with a sauce of onions and tomatoes at a barbecue.
      Good guess about the language of my posts, I’m impressed! They are indeed in Afrikaans.

      Like

      1. I had the breakfast version with sugar! I think that was my favorite way to eat it.
        Haha It’s not that I know it at all…I just knew that was one of the primary languages in South Africa. I tried to read a children’s book out loud once that was written in Afrikaans…I think I got it pretty wrong. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Let fly the windows, doors and locks
    The Magic Maker’s not in a box
    Breathe Life in all it’s color and taste
    A precious moment do not waste

    Like

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