People have asked me, “How was the trip to Uganda?” I’ve struggled to answer because the question is too broad. So I’ve started to just say–“Life-changing. Mind-blowing.” If that provokes further inquiry, I explain. If it’s more answer than was desired, I just leave it there.
I have noticed that my internal responses to various stimuli have changed. I hope the changes last, personally. For example, it’s taking more to frazzle me than before I left. I’ve had a little more patience with the family. I’m sure that’s a welcomed benefit.
But I’ve also noticed a converse intolerance. I hope it lasts, too, so long as I can properly channel it for good. It seems I’ve developed an intolerance for intolerance.
Twice since returning, I have encountered people blowing up over nothing. My office window looks out over the drive-through of a McDonald’s. Yesterday, I heard a young lady screaming at the top of her voice, “I said I didn’t want ice in my drink!” The other episode was similar, someone bent out of shape and tearing into another person because some detail was not the way she wanted it. And it was very real to me and very convicting that I have been that person.
I tried to put this in perspective. I’ve now seen people wait for hours in the sun at a makeshift medical clinic to get basic pain relievers or a pair of used eyeglasses. The best definition of poverty I’ve ever heard is “having no options.” I’ve now seen people who genuinely meet that definition. When someone is sick, they pray and wait, because they have no other options. When someone is hungry, they pray and beg, or forage, or worse, because they have no options. Can I ever be distrbed again because someone put ice in my drink?
To quote Captain Woodrow Call in Lonesome Dove, “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.”
My Father, please continue to make me intolerant of the intolerance I find in me, and show me how to be a peacemaker when I find it in others.