I traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last November. As I’m sure the details of said trip will dribble themselves through this blog, I’m going to take today to focus on one person from that trip: Laurent. From what I can tell, Laurent suffered from polio as a child. I say “from what I can tell” because I don’t think he ever had an official diagnosis. (As I was listening to stories from this disabled adults’ group, I heard “I was born fine…and when I was two years old I got a high fever…and then I couldn’t walk.” more than I’d like to admit.) But Laurent has no muscle tone is his legs. None. In fact, he has a pretty disfigured torso (from muscle imbalances over years) as well. But what haunts me about Laurent is that he walks on his hands to and from his home to this group. Ten kilometers. Each way. And did I mention that it is the rainy season and there are dirt roads in DRC?
God willing, I’m going to buy him a hand bike. The truth is that they are expensive and he’s never likely to have that sort of cash lying around. This should allow him to be closer to eye level with adults and give him more freedom. It’s amazing to me how a relatively simple piece of equipment can transform one’s life.
How does Laurent fit into the “dusty paths” theme? Aside from the obvious (yes, he gets dusty), it’s that life didn’t turn out the way he (or his parents) expected. He doesn’t fit “mainstream living”. Again, what that will look like in your life or mine might be dramatically different from his, and that’s fine. But it’s easy to live a less thoughtful life and to appear similar to our society and/or culture and to think that if we fit in, we are ok. The older I get the more convinced I become that God has something different for us, and that difference is an adventure worth taking. Come along.