Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Singing and Dancing!


The eye team kept telling me how excited the patients get when their bandages are removed; “Often they jump for joy and cry out in delight,” one team member said.

This I had to see.

So when I noticed we were uncommonly slow at the clinic today (due to the rain!), I took this opportunity to join in with the fun. 

When I got there, the patients were all lined up on a bench; half had already had their dressings removed, and the air was charged with joy and disbelief.

Clapping in surprise and elation, unstable hands shot in the air in praise!

Then the songs came...
One patient after another --the excitement too great to suppress anymore-- stood to sing a song of thanksgiving and joy!

They sang of God’s goodness and blessed those that came to help. They raised their hands in worship... for they could see! They could see!

Every outburst of song made us smile and laugh with them. The jubilation was contagious.

Oh, to be in the dark for so long.... Oh, to be blind and now to see!

One man was so happy he started dancing; and in true Dinka fashion ran back and forth before his friends while they clapped and sang!

It was a celebration! A celebration of sight!

Try as I might, I couldn’t contain my tears. They flowed so easily that I was briefly grateful for the rain.

I wish I could describe their faces as they looked around for the first time. I wish you could see the rapturous surprise as their world took on form!

It was moving. Very moving.

Snapping off pictures left and right, I tried to capture these moments for all to see. But I failed.

These photos only show the faces; they don’t let you hear their songs --songs that warbled with aged voices and wrinkled lips.

These happy songs still echo in my ears, bringing an instant smile to my face. And when I think of the man in white who danced for all to see, I can’t help but laugh softly to myself.

Thank You Jesus for You promised: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46

May their sight be spiritual as much and physical!

Funny Cultural Side note:

The Spitter
One man was so grateful for his sight he spit on me!

Yes. He spit on me in joy!

As a thin mist of spittle spread across my face I was momentarily shocked in disgust. Then I remembered; here you spit on things and people as a blessing. Here spitting in someone’s face is actually good!

Those around me laughed when they saw me so defiled (achem.... I mean ‘blessed’), and I joined in.

Surprisingly I wasn’t horrified as I would have expected (as this was the first time someone has spit in my face). Rather I was honored.

Does that sound silly? It feels silly to write it down. But I was in fact blessed when he did it. When the crowd watching our interaction (all of them Dinka) saw my spit bath, their laughter brought one of the pastors. He asked me what happened.

-- “That man just spit on my face,” I said with a smile, unsure if I needed to wipe it off or not.
-- “Oh,” He laughed, “He bless you!”
-- “I know... I know...” I said deciding it was best to wipe it off discretely, “But in my culture we do not spit like this.” Then I laughed again shaking my head in disbelief.
-- He saw my confusion and explained, “Here. Spit is blessing. Here. Spit is happy.”
-- “Yes. He is very happy. Isn’t he?” I asked and then turned back to my blesser with an easy handshake not waiting for a response.

They all were very happy. So was I.

I still am.