Wednesday, April 18, 2012

spunk

when i lived in zambia

(all of my best stories start this way)

when i lived in zambia, i met two adorable old ladies.  they were old then.  they're older now.  85 and 90.  sweet lives - fragrant from the first minute.

they live on their own, way out in the middle of nowhere, with a satellite phone and an old grey truck.  they share the gospel and Jesus-love with their own hands, living love as they have for decades.

the moment we met stands out sharp, vivid like rays of sunshine against stormclouds.

they were parked on the side of the road when we drove past, weary from a day's drive (i bore bruises from wrestling with the dam) and happy to see friendly faces.  they were perched on the tailgate of their truck, sipping tea from real teacups, and nibbling sandwiches.  shade from a skinny tree danced nearby, and dust swirled as we pulled up slow.

they wrinkled into smiles and kissed us hello. 

they live alone, mark said, and my heart expanded just at the thought.  alone is very alone out in the middle of nowhere.  alone without public electricity, alone without grocery stores, alone without someone else to kill snakes - very alone.

jill and i watched them with full hearts while they chatted and offered us tea.  would that be us someday - seasoned and spunky, fearless old ladies spry on the back of a pickup truck?  they were telling a tale of scaring off an intruder, laughing over the fright on our faces. 

they were from ireland, and they knew my grampie.  "john mccracken," they said, "aye, we knew him!  fancy meeting his granddaughter," they marveled.  and i loved them more.

that was it - the only time our paths crossed - and ever since, i picture them in thin flower-print dresses, daintily cardiganed and sipping tea, braver than brave and laughing at danger. 

last night, an old man at bible study read a letter from julie - a friend of ours, a nurse, another spreader of Jesus-love in zambia - and she had news of our brave old ladies.

the other day, two strangers came to their house and held them up at gunpoint.

"give us all your money or we'll shoot you," they growled. (they weren't local men, for they didn't understand any of the languages.  they would have to be strangers indeed, not to love our dear ladies!)

"go ahead," said the younger one, laughing.  "i know where i'm going, and i'll surely not be meeting you there."

the thieves beat them (beat them!  these sweets who had loved more people and spread more joy than they could ever imagine!) and stole their money, their phone. 

they lived - they lived! - and sent word that they had been robbed. 

a triumphant little adendum:  "they tried, but couldn't take our truck, you know, for it had broken down!" 

(friends went out and repaired their truck, but our indomitable ladies were too sore and bruised to make the trip to town.)

i can't imagine them doing anything afterward but making a cup of tea and having a wee bite, and praying over it calmly.  maybe even laughing a bit at their sauciness, in between bites of sandwiches.

perhaps they even ate perched on the tailgate of their truck, just because they could.

1 comment:

  1. Well... if anyone could make us love 2 little ladies we have never met through words - you could! They sound amazing. So thankful they survived the incident... I can't imagine beating 2 sweet old ladies. God have mercy on those men! Maybe they'll be reached and saved as a result...

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