Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Terrible Thing

Tonight, I was craving red meat, so I walked thirty minutes to the new burrito stand (!) in Bishkek. It's opposite a big overgrown park with a Soviet hero in the middle of it, and I fancied the idea of sitting there for my dinner.

The burrito stand is great. The meat is tender, the beans are good, the sauce is hot. Bizarrely, it's the real thing. Bishkek is full of surprises.

I was listening to songs from The Verses Project as I walked. I love these songs - verses sung simply and in different styles. I anticipated my meal with pleasure.

But here's the terrible thing I did: an elderly woman approached me on the footpath. She was bent over, wearing old socks with old sandals, and walking very slowly. She asked for 20 som (about 40 cents).

And I said I didn't have any.

But I had 200 som in my pocket, to pay for my burrito.

When I looked behind me, she was faltering up the street in the still-hot sun. I felt sick with sorrow. I walked up behind her very quickly, with the words of Romans 10:12 singing in my ears, excused myself, and handed her my yellow 200 som note. She was so, so grateful. I guess maybe she needed to eat.

My soul dissolved into a soft pool of shame.

It turned out I had enough money for a burrito.

I have been crying ever since.

(Do you know what the next song on my playlist was? Ephesians 2:8-10. Praise God.)

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