You sit at the edge of Subic's walkway in a small dress meant for a girl much younger than you. Actually… it's more of a crouch. Barefoot, you rock yourself back and forth in nothing but the little dress, mumbling to yourself.
Yet you are clean.
Your toenails are manicured and tipped, as are your fingernails… your, now disheveled, was done up nicely at some point. You don't see me. You keep rocking back and forth, mumbling in terrified tones, wobbling back and forth on your haunches, picking at your toenails, not looking up. You don't see me…
…but I see you.
I have little of the first and none of the second with me. The ever present cynicism arises in me like bitter gall: "God won't heal her. He doesn't do that sort of thing anymore…" Vestiges of Bible college come back to haunt me. The childlike faith in me begs to believe, but the grown up cynic sneers that I know God better than He knows Himself. He won't heal you.
I walk on.
What was I supposed to do? Pray for you?
Prayer is action, I've always said. It always seems so when I'm alone, locked away in a closet where God and I are alone. But it seems absolutely, fundamentally dehumanizing to turn around and touch you on the shoulder, see your plight, and simply say: "Can I pray for you?"
Yes, you would be justified in smacking me.
What's going on inside your head?
Who hurt you that you ran out onto the walkway in nothing more than a shift?
Where is your heart?
My feet keep me walking on and on and I find myself in front of the local Christian bookstore. Feeling the need for comfort or some kind of answer to my faith crisis, I enter. My hope is to find teaching or words of encouragement from my Filipino brothers and sisters. Not so…
Just like in Canada.
And lots of it.
Placards and bumper stickers, pens and bookmarks.
All western authors… sigh. So we have penetrated even here too. We are not thirsty to hear and learn from our family in other countries? We must always be the teachers, the leaders, the wise, the proud?
Even a book about the 'success story' of Wal-Mart lines the shelves and how YOU can experience that success too!
Really? In this poverty… in this world… in this, your feminine shadow rocking back and forth… we have the pride to declare that we all can have the success of Wal-Mart?
I wander the store trying to find expressions of worship and life according to Christ in the Philippines but the shelves are lined with American authors up and down the rows. Do you really crave us this much? Have you any idea what you ask for? Have you any idea how starved we are in our spirits?
You pick at your toenails, rock back and forth on your heels, praying for something unintelligable… except by God. Oh God, that your voice would be heard!
I failed you. I walked on certain I had nothing for you.
Yet even in the presence of great teachers and theologians, I felt no assurance. Nothing to offer you that would begin to heal your spirit. 'Tis I that must come back to you. It's me that must see you. God must bring me face to face with you again, and we will know each other by the Spirit between us.
He is working in You.
I pray that childlike faith would begin to work again in me.