Saturday, January 11, 2014

Three Degrees!

The temperature reached three degrees today, and the snow was radiant in the sun. I squinted a bit and wore my lightest jacket. The slick ice was entering that slushy crunchy stage, so it was much easier to walk (if messier).

I don't know what has happened to this, the most cold-bloodedest of Australians, that she should find this to be mild and delightful weather.

On the marshrutka today:

As usual, I bumped my head while paying the driver. It was standing room only, so I found a space between a seat and the window and ignored the usual armpits in my face. Shortly after, the very, very old woman in the seat near me tried to get up, and plumped down when the bus veered unexpectedly. In that moment, I noticed her feet were at strange angles: there was obviously some kind of deformity, and her steps were tentative. She had a face like an apple in storage and smelled of damp mothballs. I offered my green-gloved hand, which she took and heaved herself up. There were three large men between her and the door, so with her hand in mine I steadied her, while the other hand guided her through the bodies. The marshrutka shrieked to a halt on the corner and she picked her way down the steps, her feet in first position like a ballerina's. Maybe she'd been a Soviet ballerina. I immediately created a whole life story for her. Since I was standing, I couldn't see through the window how she fared, and the whole thing probably took about five seconds. But how my heart swelled with love and pity and regret: love for her gentle, aged face; pity for her wretched physical condition and probable poverty; regret that I had not descended the steps with her and ensured her wellbeing.

Though it is painful, I am glad God aligns my heart with his. It awakens me to pray with yearning. It also confirms my desire to study community development this year, because more and more, I long for the skills and aptitude to help women like the one on my marshrutka today. I cry out for that ability. I think God is prompting me in this direction. I guess we'll know more shortly.

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