Alex and Aden came along with me and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, shouting for performances, and getting into the vibe that is Africa's youngsters gathered together. WE LOVE IT! From the stunning Michael Jackson performance, to the amazing poetry recitals, to the free styling Christian rap...we had an amazing night.
As we were walking to our car I could not help but notice that ours was the only one in the parking lot. I was struck again by how polar opposite my life is to those of the kids I had just spent the evening hanging out with. None of them have cars. They walked there. Youth Alive does a stellar job of making sure everybody has safe rides home at the end of the night, but as I walked across the lonely parking lot, I could not help but be burdened to pray for the beautiful kids, who were finding their ways home tonight. Our family has witnessed a disproportionate amount of fatal accidents on the roadways since moving to Africa. So, I obeyed the nagging in my soul and prayed safety over my talent show comrades.
Alex, Aden, and I were signing along loudly to the Glee casts', "Don't Stop Believing," in the car on the way home, when we saw the lights. Both boys instinctively dropped their heads to their laps, and covered their eyes, (we've seen some horrific fatalities on the roads). I instinctively closed my eyes. Then, I remembered I was driving. I would have to drive past. I willed my eyes open, trying to see how I could pass the traumatizing human carnage on the road. I was sick. My eyes shut tightly again, a reflex! This was the worst thing I have ever witnessed in my life. This was a nightmare. I could not say anything, but Jesus' name... and I did over and over again, until he gave me the strength to open my eyes. Maternal instincts to protect my young boys from the scene, as well as, realizing the danger of staying stopped in the dead of night in the middle of the road, in South Africa, pushed my foot down on the accelerator. I tried to look past as best I could, into the darkness ahead, searching for the lines, trying desperately to block anything else out, but, alas... my eyes could not find escape and fell prey to the scene. It assaulted all my senses.
WHY GOD? Why does this keep happening? And why do you keep allowing me to see it? What are you trying to tell me? What must I do? What are you asking of me?
As I write, I don't have the answers to these questions, but I am left with the stark contrast between my journey home tonight in my car, vs. the journey of the 200 teens I so loved spending the evening with. The scene I came across on the road, from the heated confines of my comfortable car, jarred me into the reality that... my own reality is so vastly different from the majority of the people we are honored to live amongst, and serve.
People walking home in the dark get hit by cars way too often in this region. Mothers with babies, who had to go out to get food, or medicine. Men walking home from a long day of work. Drunks, who are in no condition to be anywhere near a road. Teenagers just out having a good time. Prostitutes. All God's beloved creations.
I have no answers, but tonight... as I pulled into my driveway... I could not help but think Africa and her stunning people just may have been better off without all the highways, all the cars, all the westernization. I often think Africa was not meant for cars and the pace of life they bring with them. A great deal about this culture, and these people, make for a very poor coexistence with the modern roadway system.
What I witnessed on that stage tonight. What I felt in that room. What God gave these people ... what these people are to the very core is .... PURE... RAW... UNTOUCHED.
I, for one, vow to never take that for granted!