May the Lost Ones Find Their Way Home

Gratitude List

1. Still, that new name for God keeps ringing in my ears, making me want to pronounce it, feel how it sounds through my own throat: Ja kon kudho.  Remover of Thorns.  I hear it in the voice of Mama Nyakyema of Bwiri village, tender, a murmur.  I hear it in the voice of the twinkly-eyed man who used to stop me in the street whenever he saw me to make me practice my Swahili and to give me new Luo words.  I hear him saying it carefully as he always did for me, so my English ears can hear it, make sense of it, and repeat it back.  A little song in it, low on the kudho with a pause in the middle of the word.  Soft j, almost a dy.  And the dh almost a th, but not quite.  Sounds that invite your spirit to sit down and rest a moment.

2. Hummingbird.  I was talking with a customer about hummingbirds today.  She said sometimes she goes out into her garden with the intention that she IS going to see a hummingbird.  Invariably, one appears.  Not fifteen minutes after she left, I was working at the table outside, and I heard a tiny whoosh in my ears.  About two and a half feet away, a female hummer hovered for about ten seconds at the corner of the building.  Long enough for me to say, “Well, hello!  I was just talking about you!”

3. How speaking a new thing makes it real.

4. The web.  When my heart aches for someone I love, I grab the strands, feel you there, and you, and you.  Sense the presence of so many who hold the world together in so many ways.  Keep the light shining so all the lost ones may find their way.

5. Learning to refuse the invitations to enter the cage, not with anger or fear, but simply to go on whistling by.

May all the lost ones find their way home.


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