Lisa and I took a 12 hour bus ride from Lilongwe, Malawi to Lusaka, Zambia last week. Actually, it was 16 hours, but who’s counting? Not the driver or his captain, that’s for sure. These idiots managed to add 4 hours to the trip! But really, what’s an extra 4 hours? I’m not bitter.
I guess I’m just sorry I’m not African. What is normal here is so far from the normal I’m used to. How do you cope with that? An extra 4 hours, the other passengers didn’t seem to mind. This is their normal. The bathroom situation, not normal to me. Food situation, not normal to me. The heat, the seats, the space at our feet, the sights outside, the smells inside, nothing in this picture was normal to me.
In this madness I was upset with myself because I thought I should be ok with all of this. After all, there was a bus full of people, and no one was complaining. If my good friend Peter Scibelli was on the bus that day, he would likely be in jail tonight. Sixty Africans, not a single complaint.
The reality is, you can’t get angry; you can’t complain about something normal. It would be like getting angry because there was too much food at Golden Corral. No, it’s normal to have that much food at the Golden Corral.
As the hours passed, I got to thinking, and got less annoyed with myself. It’s ok that this is not my normal. I choose to live here, so I have to live with it. Maybe it will be my normal someday, but it’s not today, and I can live with that. It’s ok that I was born where I was born, with the conveniences that I have been afforded. I can’t change that.
Where we come from has so much to do with who we are. Instead of spending hours regretting my weakness, I should have been thanking God for who I am and for my strengths. Do you think Christ came down and said to the Father, “Hey, it’s really dirty down here!” No, He was about His Father’s business, and that wasn’t going to change, no matter where He was.