I was riding home today after a long day at the camps (shown above), just staring out the window, reflecting on all that had transpired over the day. Thoughts streamed in and out seamlessly until my tired mind just fell into a lull, matching the rhythmic movements of the bus.
And I let me eyes wander over the art work forming before me as we passed beautiful landscapes of cascading green trees off set by the bright burnt orange shades of the ground below.
As we made our way back to Adjumani, the town where we are staying, the scene changed as Ugandans entered the movie streaming by me as we rode slowly, bumping up and down on the uneven roads.
And I spotted a tree in the distant. Not a small tree that had little purpose except to be, nor a large one that everyone was sure to take notice of, but something in the middle. And while the tree was stunning the way its branches seemed to make almost a perfect circle, it wasn’t the tree that drew my attention.
Underneath the tree were a group of about ten or eleven boys, all huddled together, some sitting on each others laps, others draping their arms over another.
They looked our way as we passed by and a few waved, something I have grown accustomed to and love. I slowly waved back as I looked at them all grouped together under there and I try to capture the picture in my head.
There was something about that picture that has stuck with me even as I try to sleep….
There is something more… something that is speaking to me…
… and then I see it .
When the beating down of the sun, when the heat strikes us in such a way, that it is uncomfortable- down right miserable- it will draw us to a place of seeking out shade- rest- protection.
We do that in life, you know. We chase shade.
A place were we can, if even for a few moments, find comfort from the pain.
But, in chasing shade, we learn that those are the places where we experience intimacy- closeness- that we might have otherwise missed.
These boys wouldn’t have been hanging all over each other if they weren’t all seeking shade- comfort.
And it makes me wonder dear sisters, if perhaps it is the uncomfortable places, the scorching trials in our lives, that are the exact things that drive us to places where we experience a deeper intimacy than we ever would have had if we were not drawn to that place.
I think back to my divorce. It was awful. And painful. Did I mention awful?
And aflame with pain, but it drew me to a place where I was seeking comfort. It drew my family to a place of closeness as they gathered around to comfort me. And I think back to that time and can see a sweetness between my siblings and parents and I that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. They rallied with me under the shade as I sought a place to find respite from the scorching rays beating down on me.
So, dear sisters, as I think of these sweet boys clinging to each other to escape the scorching sun beating down on the Uganda soil, I am reminded of the beauty that comes from ashes, the beauty we discover as we chase the shade when the heat of our day is beating down on us and comfort others who need us to draw so very near, draping our arms around them as they escape, if but for a moment.