Monday, November 21, 2011

At Home in the Spirit

I’ve just returned from a month in Ethiopia.  It was an experience of poverty and beauty beyond what I could ever have imagined. 
The first two weeks I was working with a team of twelve Canadians and some thirty five Ethiopian men and women building Habitat for Humanity houses (and pit toilets) made of eucalyptus poles, bark, chika and cement, with corrugated metal roofs.  On our last day on the Build site we presented six families with house keys, and bibles, and pictures of our team to hang on the walls of their new homes - homes which they had earned through their hard work - homes which they now owned.
The last two weeks I travelled with a couple of friends and our driver, discovering the beauty and the spirit of the land and the people who walked it, literally, and often barefoot.  I have arrived home with many pictures, and stories, and a sense of being full to overflowing with something new and yet not new.  I need time to just be with it all.
In those four weeks of walking in a land of ancient culture, and people stripped of so much of the stuff that fills my world, I was almost constantly aware of the Holy Mystery that is the Source of all of creation.  I had a sense of being spiritually fed at a deep and profound level.  Maybe I was more open because my surroundings were both strange and strangely familiar - in a land two miles above sea level - where the air was thin and my lungs were at times challenged, the feeling in my fingers reached out beyond my skin at times.  But even so I felt at home. 
Holy Love wrapped round me and invited me to dance - and on the last day on the Build site I did dance, hesitantly since my shoulders were unfamiliar with the dance of these new friends - these new home-owners.  We all danced to the music of the universe sung by a man in rubber clogs, dancing on a bare dirt floor, in Ethiopia.
And in the words of another indigenous man, from my part of the world, My Heart Soars!

Sharon Copeman

1 comment:

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