Rocks were flying, men were moving at a rapid pace and words were being said that I cannot repeat here. Okay, I can’t repeat the words because they were speaking Spanish of which I know very little and therefore I have no idea what they were saying. This all took place in a village outside of Leon, Nicaragua where I was serving on a Living Water International well-drilling team. The men in the story were loading rocks inside the form that would hold the concrete that would serve as the base of the pump for the well.
The village is called “Veintiocho de Mayo” and it’s not much to look at. The homes are rudimentary and made with corrugated metal and plastic sheeting. The people are beautiful and some of the best I have met in any country. What struck me most was the way they worked together to make this water well happen. They seem to have a great camaraderie as a community. And that may be because it’s necessary. They don’t have much and the life they live depends on having the support of one another.
Spending time among the people of Veintiocho de Mayo was inspiring and it made me realize how problematic it is to be self-sufficient. Here in the U.S. we admire the “self-made man” (or woman). We take pride in being able to make it on our own, to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. But, I begin to wonder if that attitude isn’t detrimental to our overall well-being and health as people. Certainly as followers of Jesus we know that being united together as “the body of Christ” is an essential part of our calling. And yet, how often do we fail to live as a true community of love and grace and interdependence? And when I say “we” I mean “me” – and possibly you, but definitely me.
I’m not sure if God needs to bring my life to a greater sense of poverty in order for me to learn this lesson. My hope is that He does not. However, if that’s what it takes for me to connect better with others and to live more interdependently, well then, I guess God has to do what God has to do. But, maybe, if I begin to live more and more with the idea that we are “in this together” maybe that will give God room to change my life. It’s at least a good place to start.
Holy high-five to you,