Friday, June 17, 2005

My people in Ethiopia

No more pastoral or Evergreen Leaders work until July 5.

I get to slow dance with time, Sarah and family.

Let my mind drift like a leaf settling gently on a brook.

In 1988 on vacation at my parents' in northern Minnesota, I began to write little parables in my journal each morning. At home I typed them up and realized--this could be a novel.

Thus was Jonas and Sally born.

Let's see what happens as my mind meanders, my body bends, and my spirit strecthes over the next couple of weeks.

Tonight I had the honor of eating dinner with my fingers, an Ethiopian tradition. My daughter Heidi's mother-in-law made ua meal consisting of several dishes with Ehtiopian names that did not stick to my brain long enough to be repeated.

As in Ethiopia we diners broke off pieces of enjara, a pliable flat bread, and used the enjara to pinch bites from eat dish. Bite by bite I ate a fine meal with my fingers.

I am ready to go to Ethiopia now, a dream I've harbored since the early 1990's. Sarah's father, Ralph Larson, an American Baptist missionary, was shot and killed in Ethiopia on November 13, 1951, five months before Sarah was born.

Ralph is buried there and no one in his family has visited his grave since his family left a day or two after he was buried.

Three years ago this summer Heidi and Woju fell in love and married a year later in a glorious Ethiopian-Plow Creek wedding.

For over fifty years our family has been bonded to Ethiopia through loss and a distant grave.

Now my people are living in Ethiopia.