I bought a few 2 cent kites and joined in the skyward party, those colorful flashes like boats riding air waves. We kids made a paper-wind dance, from the rooftops or, even better, from the field where all the kids gathered to giggle and shout. Their six-year-old hands held the precious toys, a humble show of much labor. Thankfully many had come from school with the telltale uniforms; but others had just got off work. Those children, coming straight from the factory to the field, taught me the art of kite flying, about the enjoyment of little flickering things, about life, its motion like a fragile paper kite.
During a peach sunset with the Himalayas in pristine view, we foreigners gathered as church on comfy chairs in a lovely apartment secured with a gate and watchdog and enjoyed a first-rate meal of hot dogs with the works, soda, cheesecake and great coffee. We guilelessly offered to host the next week, but by mid-week my wife, overwhelmed with the mountain of expectations that the precedent set, was on the verge of tears, embarrassed at our lack of foreign food. The real-life mountains called down to us through the pantry window, and we went out to walk and talk it through. We had plenty of fresh local nutritious food yet for many reasons we didn’t keep the imported, expensive, processed food on hand.
As we meandered the lanes in the afternoon sun, we passed children, stuck in workshops, never to be in school, laboring over woodwork and touristy items. Our embarrassment turned to shame. These kids lived and worked on our very street, and it was they, not we, who had very little—not even a childhood. We never were again ashamed to serve a local un-imported meal.
My childhood flourished in scorching Sydney days, coasting downhill along the shimmering tar road, breaching the radiating sand to delve into the ocean. I knew nothing of Jesus back then, had never entered in a church building, yet sand-side after school or bedside looking up at stars, I became aware of a Presence, and a longing to worship. Passing through sets of waves, wine red dusks, I sensed motion with my unborn soul, something of a friend calling out, who spoke from without to within. This unknown Jesus was whispering—first through a dream, then through friends and even strangers. I felt increasingly uncomfortable with an idea—could I really have been born for just the here and now? Despite being rather unsure of myself, I felt a strange sense of uniqueness. I felt that somehow I was made to dwell in some unending lush, fragrant land.
Nepal was definitely a fresh, fragrant-spiced land. I found a Jesus there that engaged my heart and taught me about the richness of cultures, the beauty of others and bridges between faiths, as I rested in the cool refreshing Water.
I had swapped Australian suburbs for Kathmandu bustling streets. I had known a land where everyone had everything, except Everything. Now I was in a land where the most vulnerable literally had nothing, yet I did find Everything. Passing workshop-lined streets, young children looked up at me, working not for mum or dad, but an employer-owner who sold the products for tens of dollars to the unaware tourist and paid his child-staff in in tens of cents.
Those many days of flinging dripping wetsuits over the clothes line, plummeting into pools, eating plentifully, being a kid, wondering about the sunlight glittering through. If only I could share those days with the tiny rags-clad beggar or the child-slave hunched over her work. My heart tears with the knowledge that I cannot give those kids a childhood or immediately stop the life-draining system of enslavement. I can do a lot, though—I can give, I can live and I can follow. I can find out what Jesus is doing, be aware, find out a way to share what I have, and Who is important to me, and watch out for when He will speak.