I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible last night. I know, that book was popular twelve or fifteen years ago and everyone read it then. I didn't, for various reasons, some of which I'm not proud. I've read it now. The writing is wondrous, painting not only pictures of Africa, her beauties, dangers and people, but bringing them wholly to life in my mind.
It is an age old story of one culture assuming superiority over another for the simple reasons that they appear different in almost every way and misunderstand each other. The story made me see our own culture through the eyes of the men and women in that humid, mud flat village in the Congo. The missionary, TaTa Price they called him, returned home from the war severely wounded in his mind and soul. He moved through the following years of his life punishing everyone he touched for what happened to him earlier, in the other jungle, and claiming it was God's Will. I never cease to be appalled at the horrors humans have visited upon each other in the name of God. If we are going to insist on acting like barbarians, let us at least have the courage to admit we are doing it in our own names, and leave God out of it.
All lives overlap and kindness and compassion are common bonds, no matter that we drew first breath on a mud floor or in a sterile hospital room. No matter our language, the color of our skin, how much we have learned, or how far we have traveled, the Life within, binds us together and we get out of life what we put into it. Bad things happen to all of us; why would we think they would not? But good things happen too. We can help them to happen. The very least we can do is try to see the day through the eyes of others and help those in need.