One of the things I deeply appreciate about living in the D.C. Metro area is encountering folks from around the world. The other day, I had a great conversation with a young cashier from El Salvador when I commented on a wooden bracelet she was wearing. She's been here for about a decade, but most of her family still lives in Central America; she's hoping to go back for a visit in the next year. And several months ago, my husband and I met a young woman from Tibet who works at a local Asian restaurant we frequent. Every time we go, we seek out her or her husband, who both emigrated from India in the last year and work most evenings together at the restaurant. Her younger brother, a Buddhist monk in Tibet, disappeared several months ago and no one knows where he is.
While I hear stories from Asia and Central America--or any part of the world for that matter--on the evening news or special programs on television quite often, meeting folks from these areas is something else entirely. When I hear their stories, the world ceases to be populated with countries or regions or news stories and instead becomes populated with people, people who yearn, laugh, suffer, hope and love. And that changes the way I think about a lot of things--from political and economic issues to how breathtakingly amazing this world really is. It makes me think about the Kingdom, too. It's expanded those wide open spaces of God's grace and glory and rule, made me marvel at the vastness and leaves me in pure amazement at it's lush and rich here-and-now and yet-to-be. And that yet-to-be, I just can't even imagine.