Day 52: Cliciova, Romania
Daniel stumbled into the courtyard of the humble farmhouse in the forgotten Romanian village, and plopped down at the table; he had been to this place so many times before. Maybe he was looking for food or perhaps he simply needed shelter from the stifling heat. Seeing the Bibles, he began asking questions. A local sitting to my left became our voices to each other. Daniel said he thought about God a lot but didn’t know if God ever thought about him. He asked questions about faith and forgiveness and how an all-knowing and all-loving God could so easily forget Romania – and him. The smell of alcohol perfumed his presence, and he struggled to keep his tremors under control.
He was so hungry for answers. He was so hungry to be seen.
“He’s just a drunk,” the translator said. “He is wasting our time. He is wasting God’s time.” He then looked at Daniel. “Get out of here – this isn’t your home.”
I looked at the translator and spoke softly, “What if I want to talk to him? What if he’s sincere? What do you mean he’s wasting God’s time?”
He laughed. And my heart sank.
Daniel slowly got up, and stumbled back toward the metal gate that kept things safe.
He left hungry.
I wonder if he’s returned to that courtyard. I pray someone has fed him.
And I hope there’s a place at the table for those with questions.
When was the last time you invited someone to the table who stumbled rather than walked, who struggled to keep things in check, who longed to be known? When was the last time you were willing to listen – and to respond to someone whose fragrance repelled you? I’m still learning how to let go of me and hold on to the ones who are hungry. How about you?