Dani's Niche

Family history. A novel idea.


Simple Pleasures

A simple pleasure is never far away

Ready to brighten the day In a most ordinary way.

How sad that something

Once a pleasure

No longer seems like such a treasure.

There was a time long past

In Africa.

A young woman walked dusty paths, village to village, with sandaled feet bringing good news to those who never heard the name of Jesus. At day’s end she washed her tired, dirt covered feet in a small tub of rain water. Her head and body prickled with dirt and sweat and she longed for  a cold shower or even a bucket shower, but this would have to do. A simple pleasure.

She felt isolated from her family and friends half a world away. Having no phone, e-mail, or daily mail service, she learned to wait. When the mail bag finally arrived she took her letters to a quiet place. She knew from the handwriting that these were letters from home–from family, friends, and people she had never met. Others never wrote. Nothing special to share was their excuse. They did not understand that everything she read in those letters, even the most mundane to them, connected her to home. After each letter was opened and read, she leaned back in her chair and thanked God for the sender. Her heart was stirred, encouraged and cheered and she was reminded of  the proverb, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” A simple pleasure. Now she rarely thinks about those past pleasures. It’s not that she doesn’t appreciate hot and cold running water at the turn of the faucet, not having to check her shoes for scorpions, and the luxury of phones, email and social networking to keep up with family and friends. Now, perhaps, she has come to expect them.

What are your simple pleasures?

Letters from Africa

IMG_2871_web2When I first arrived in Africa I started a journal which, in a short time, fell by the wayside. Instead, letters sent home became a kind of diary because Mother saved and numbered every one that survived the long journey. Twenty years of letters fill a box, waiting for Someday.

Back then, without phones or computers, letters were our only connection to home. I bought stacks of pre-stamped aerogrammes that folded into themselves to make a tidy letter. They remind me of past centuries when letters were folded and made into their own envelopes.

The writing was tedious and so was the waiting. Mail by boat took months, by air a week or two. Sometimes packages and letters did not arrive at their destination.

Receiving letters was a highlight of the week. When the mail bag arrived we spent the rest of the day catching up on news from home and delighting in months old magazines. We welcomed any news to keep us connected, but what Proverbs 25:25 says is so true. “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”