Daring to make a Difference

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls, to arrive at it’s destination full of Hope.”

Maya Angelou

Recently I had the privilege of being at a beach resort that had a great small adult pool far away from the large crowds of people.

One morning as I was settling in to read, swim and have quiet times I became aware of several women approaching wearing muslim attire. They then proceeded into the pool giggling and enjoying the water.

Even though I have lived 17 years in Africa I haven’t encountered many people from the Muslim faith and not in a pool.

Soon there were five women in the pool. I was surprised at my reaction which was not very gracious. This encounter was forcing me to check out my attitude. These people were here on a holiday as I was, had the right to the pool as I did, so why did I feel I should be more privileged?

My head was full of many thoughts and I became more and more frustrated as time went on when the husbands joined the ladies. They all were enjoying each other and all wearing “clothes”!

If that wasn’t enough, soon a young beautiful lady appeared in a VERY skimpy bikini! The women and men in the pool were obviously trying to divert their gaze from her but she didn’t seem to mind the awkwardness. She was comfortable with her body and the others in the pool who were definitly different from her.

I was wrestling with all this and finally decided I might as well laugh because it was so strange it was funny.

Soon an African lady came to the pool and even though there was many chairs she decided to plunk down right beside me…chairs even touching! I was getting more and more upset as “My space” was invaded big time.

If that wasn’t enough, soon twelve young college students came into the pool laughing and having fun. I thought there couldn’t be much more room in the water for more!

All this was a great picture to me of how our world is. So many people groups in a pool together. What will we do with that? How will I respond to people as I am faced with so many differences. I definitely didn’t pass the test that day but did come to a realization that God’s love and grace will be the only way to face things that come when we have no control over them.

By the way, I got to know one Muslim couple from Somalia. They are newly married and appeared to be very much in love. The lady with the skimpy bikini is a teacher and a very sweet person who seemed to care deeply for people. The college students were very interesting to talk to. They are doing research on environmental issues in Africa and the lady who plopped down so close to me had a great sense of humour.

I did learn a few things that were more important than a quiet time at a pool. God often gives us encounters that suprise us, frustrates us and shows us what is in our hearts. I know I need to learn to live outside my comfort boat, trusting God for courage and more of His love.