The world looks different without access to TV, radio, the internet, trains, and even good telephone service. Things we always take for granted I now see and appreciate for the amazing helps that they are. This includes electricity that is on more than it is off, hot showers, and easy access to goods and services. The fact is that anyone’s assumption of what constitutes normal city management vanishes as traditional government is replaced with political parties jockeying for position while being protected by an extremely visible army.
Driving in this world takes on new dimensions. Even when you have the right, a jeep full of men carrying AK-47s, hidden except for their eyes, automatically takes whatever role and position they desire. Nighttime street lights are an exception rather than the norm. Directions to any destination are a series of lefts, rights, and visible monuments given that street signs are not existent. The final straw comes in regards to personal safety. What is one supposed to think when the driver turns on the lights at night so that the armed patrols can see who is passing them on the darken street? How is one supposed to feel when M-16 gun-barrels follow the eyes that search to meet your eyes in the darkness of the early evening?
In this world the gray of my life disappears. Suddenly things are clear. I see my wife and daughters in a new light. I reflect on the wisdom of the people who care about me in ways that I do not understand or appreciate. I hold the conflicts of life in my hand without the shades of gray I saw as recently as Monday.
In this light it is clear that “the road of right living bypasses evil; watch your step and save your life.” (Proverbs 16.17)
In the midst of the chaos and turmoil, I also experienced the joy of teenagers alive and excited. I saw my kids dancing with others in love with God. No gray in this world! Why does it need to stay in yours or mine?