they can make you feel safe, loved, annoyed, and sometimes downright terrified. here in zambia dogs are usually used as vicious guard dogs... and more than a few good people have been attacked/bitten by an overly territorial dog. call out, "imbwe!" and people are guaranteed to jump a little... sometimes even run away (which can also be kind of funny)
the point being... dogs here can be scary. backstory over
so yesterday we were picking up a vehicle at the mechanic's and i was standing outside for some fresh air and to talk to my friend, richard. suddenly kaytie grace, who was still inside the vehicle, called out,
"DOG-EEEE!!!! aunt leslie! it's a doggy! look out! it's comING!!!!!"
i turned to guard myself and saw it. i mean, this thing was fierce...
phew! thanks for the warning, kg! that was a close one
and now, after weeks of silence... a random story: today i was walking downtown and wasn't particularly in the mood to be sociable. now. any musungu (particularly female) will tell you that not interacting with others in a crowded african city is not super realistic, considering the fact that you tend to draw a lot of attention simply by being there. so i thought to myself, "i should just start responding to people in (what teensy bit i know of) russian, just to throw them off." i kind of laughed to myself at the thought and then promptly forgot the issue as my mind wandered to other super important topics like chitange patterns, downton abbey, agatha christie, easter plays, and spanish vacations (yep. cause i'm taking one) about 5 minutes later i passed a group of zambians who started calling after me. completely forgetting my plan, i nodded and kept walking. they called after me again, "how are you?!" "fine." kept walking. they seemed slightly confused and pretty soon i heard one say, "maybe she's russian!" haha! and i didn't even have to say a word.
"well, like i always tell you; draw near to God and He'll draw near to you."
these were the last words my beautiful grandma spoke in my ear as she hugged me goodbye christmas night.
now, as i sit on my bed in africa while my family makes funeral arrangements back home, these are the words that keep coming to mind, bringing with them a myriad of emotions
honestly, there have been a few times over the past couple days that i've wanted to do just the opposite. when i've had no desire to take the time to bring this before my Father, simply because i don't want to deal with it (i know. super healthy way to deal with grief)
i don't want to be reminded that i'm still in africa while the rest of my family is grieving together. i don't want to listen to my grandmother's funeral service online or talk on skype or blog about how her life was rich and meaningful and cherished because it all reminds me of how i'm still here... and not there.
and then i hear her voice in my head, "draw near..." and in my heart i know her words are true and full of wisdom. i know that in spite of the pain of this sudden loss and the seemingly terrible timing He will draw near. He will work this for good. it's kind of His specialty.
so i'm still here. the grief is still potent and oh so very real. but my God is very near.