Twenty-nine years ago I used to play in the evenings with a tall, lean boy from the Naga-hills. The memories sat buried until I walked off the plane and met a smiling face instantly familiar, yet older, energetic and streaked with wisdom. Time continues as we left off; albeit in a fresh way given our aging roles with the people around us.
Zonah and I first met in our youth. At the time, he was a twenty-two year old just beginning to reach his stride. An orphan that had at one time been a soldier in the underground movement, he discovered God and hope. People often overlooked his disciplined approach to life given the easy going stride, casual smile, and love of playing games. Our friendship grew as we wrestled away the evening with childish games that still brings a smile to my face.
Off and on, I wondered what happened to him. As we talked about the years in between over a mountain of food, my admiration grows for what he continues to give back to the immediate world around him. His passion is for kids, especially orphan boys. Under his leadership, the school he runs has among the best passing scores in the city. The intensity of his vision is hard to ignore.
In the years before and after we met, both of us have made many bad decisions. With time, I am sure we are bound to repeat more than a few! The difference lies in the hope that God gives to each. I walked away from an old friend with fresh memories and hope. I left something behind; knowing that the tall lean man from the Naga-hills touched me yet again.
There are points in life where we could have easily lost our way, permanently. The old proverb is still true: “Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions take you to a dead end.” (Proverbs 5.23) Yet, we are here and today is a fresh opportunity. We must decide; for me, living without God is not an option.