So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them– Gen. 1:27
I had a bad fall. I was playing volleyball with some of the teens in the streets and I was trying to hit a high ball when I realized that I was on the edge of a flight of concrete steps. I fell backwards and my back first hit the steps followed by my head. As I was falling it appeared as if everything was in slow motion. I saw the faces of all the teens filled with concern as they shouted out in fear as I fell. I wasn’t sure what was happening but I remembered thinking that these teens were genuinely concerned. Strangely, my back did not hurt and neither did my head but my wrist was hurting. I had used the palms of my hands instinctively to break the fall. The teens begged me to sit down and rest. Some of them asked if I was hurt and they watched me intently. These teenagers are actually drug dealers. They have never really spoken to us before. For the first time they wanted us to play volleyball with them. These young people are what they call the hardened street teens. They put up a tough front to survive in their world. As I fell down the steps, they allowed their humanity to come forth.
As I sat there trying to figure out if I had broken my wrist, the children started approaching me. They wanted to play checkers with me. They did not want me to be alone. Apart from the fall, it was actually one of our best days working with these dear ones. My wrist did not swell up but it still hurt. I went home thinking about the faces of the teens. They were really children trapped in a world of drugs and violence. Inside each of them there is child who wants to love and be loved. They dropped their masks when there was an opportunity for them to show kindness and love.
The next day, my wrist stopped hurting and the missionaries were surprised that I did not hurt my back or head. I was grateful that I did not have to go to the hospital. As we went back to the same spot, the teens came up to us and greeted Mary with a kiss. The barrier has been overcome. It seems like they knew that they can show their humanity with us. At least, we hope that we have a step together to discover God’s image in each other’s soul.
My wrist is fine. I am typing this posting with it.