Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thinkers Village Neighbors

We live in an area that goes by at least three names. Traditionally, it was called Borbor Town, after an influential family living on the other side of Robertsfield Highway. On some maps, it is called Foster Town, after the family that lives on this side of the road and owns much of the land. Lately, almost everyone refers to it as Thinkers Village, because of the popular bar and restaurant bearing the same name located on the beach. It is a dubious honor to live in a community named for a bar, but I’ve always liked the idea of the name. I live in a village of thinkers. Maybe people will view me as a thinker too.

When the Reeds came to Liberia, we came believing and still believe our most important task has to do with the way we live with our neighbors. While our work tasks include curriculum development, business and organizational consulting and teaching, we believe our primary vocation is to simply be good neighbors.
We are grateful to be able to work along side Liberians as they heal and rebuild, so the work at Mother Patern College and Lead are terrific ways to have a wider impact. But in our neighborhood, we can go deeper. We laugh and weep and worship and sweat and josh and argue and confront and eat with our neighbors. We are able to get close, to touch and change one another. With the adults, we are able to participate in organizing this community in ways that will make it safer, healthier, and more interdependent. We try to listen long and speak short. With the children, we find joy and delight in connecting soul to soul. With the children, Hannah provides leadership, teases and gets teased, Noah fishes and plays legos, Renita loans books and reads, I pinch cheeks and dance.

When the Reeds part from Liberia, if we have done nothing except shared love with the men and women, boys and girls of this ‘village of thinkers,” we will be confident that we did what we came here to do, and grateful that He gave us the strength and vision to do it. The rest of the work is overflow.

Sounds like life, doesn’t it. If at our parting, at the end of our journey, we have done nothing but laughed, wept, worshipped, sweated, argued, teased, read, pinched and danced with our neighbors in His name, we will have done well. Everything else will be overflow.

1 comment:

Julie DeGraw said...

You made me teary this morning Bob. Reading the blog always brings me back to the important things in life and you really did that in this one. Not to mention I loved the visual image of you dancing!