Monday, May 24, 2010

So...This is Heaven?

I wish you all could meet a friend of mine from the Ye'kwana tribe. Cristina was my neighbor for all those years we lived in the village. When I first met her, she was a married woman with 5 children. A few months later, her husband died of a high fever, probably yellow fever. This made her a widowed mother of 5. Life in the jungle is hard even with a husband but for a woman one to build the house every five years or so when it falls down...HARD!

About this same time, I had my first back surgery. This meant I could no longer do my own laundry in the river. Lugging dirty clothes down the bank and then heavy, wet clothes back up was no longer possible. Cristina showed up one morning and told me that God had led her to do my laundry for me. I had been praying about whom to hire. It is hard in a small, cashless society to hire one person over another. But this was the perfect answer, as everyone knew Cristina needed help. She did my laundry for several years.

One dry season, she was collecting fire wood, which must be collected before the rains and kept under a roof to use during the long rainy season. She stopped at my door and took off the head strap of her handmade back pack.
(These men are wearing the same style back pack.)

"WOOO", she called.
I opened the door and as she came in I could tell she was not feeling well. Now, Cristina stands at about 4'8" or so and might weigh 45 kilos. I had just watched her come in carrying a good 25 kilos of firewood on her back. Her garden was probably 2 to 3 kilometers away, so, she had every reason to not feel well!
She asked me if I could give her a "red" pill for her pain. The "red" pill was ibuprofen, the Miracle Pill in the jungle!

I went into the store room to get it for her, and when I came back out, she was sitting with a smile on her face looking around my house.I gave her the pill and began to tell her how that in heaven there would be no need for medicine as there would be no pain. And there would be no need to gather firewood, as God would provide all our needs and be the very light. I said it would be so great in heaven , to have all our needs met and provided AND , we would each have a mansion!!
Her face lit up, she looked at me and said something I will never forget. She said, "Heaven will be like your house!"

Now, my heart stopped for a moment. My house, that she was referring to was a mud hut! With a palm roof!! When you touched the walls, pieces of it fell off. Worms and cock roaches nested in the palm roof and even occasionally fell on you, not to mention the lizards and snakes! I had a generator and lights though, and a rough cement floor. I had colorful curtains, and a sink!
To Cristina's mind, this was as good as she could imagine!! (Inside The Jungle Hut)

I remember thinking, "Please God ,let her be wrong! Heaven has got to be better than this!"
And then I began to think, in Cristina's limited imagination, my home was a mansion.
What if, in our limited human imaginations, we are as far off as she is in what we imagine heaven will be like!


Linda said...


Betty said...

Makes you think, doesn´t it? Also makes me very thankful for the house/mansion that we already have.

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

Such a neat story. I'd love to meet her someday....

Gigi said...

What a beautiful post! I will be thinking about this one today and praying for Cristina...wherever and however she is today! What a blessing she was to you - and you to her!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Wow. This blows my mind! Thanks for sharing this story, Jungle Mom!

Gringo said...

Like the jaguar skin. Who killed it?

Re heaven/refuge: as your laundress pointed out,it all depends on your point of view. The mother of a friend of my brother had a bad auto accident from driving in a snowstorm that put her in the hospital for 3+ months. Her son stayed with us during that time. The kid had problems, primarily coming from dealing with an absent and alcoholic father, so it was not a surprise that his stay with us was not always easy, and often tested our patience. Many years later he informed me he viewed his stay with us as "a port in a storm." At the time, I would not have thought that was how he viewed his stay with us. It was nice to know our effort had been appreciated.

Perhaps also to the point of your laundress: you and your family didn't complain about being far from US material comfort, but made the best of where you were. That attitude contributed to how she felt about your house.

Then there is the C&W song of the winos who ask the street preacher, "Will there be Mogen David in Heaven?"

firepigette said...

Makes me homesick for Venezuela

redneck preacher said...

The lady was as right as we would be. Our thoughts of Heaven is as inaccurate as hers. Very good post.

LadyFi said...

Inspiring. Our vision of heaven depends on our perspective and upbringing.

Debbie said...

What a story. I love how you tied this together. And I think you are probably right. We have no way to imagine heaven.

Brooke said...

Wow, indeed!

Steve n Vickie said...

Thanx for the reality check :D Its easy to forget and not be thankful for what we have.