Monday, August 2, 2010

My Burmese Uncle

People I meet along the climb up this mountain are precious to me. The first moment when I knew Hans will always be someone special was when I realized how much I loved having him as a traveling companion. Hopefully, we will be walking side by side for a long, long time. Meanwhile, I will attempt to record the footprints of some of those we met along the way.

I had a neighbor from Myanmar (Burma). He was like an uncle to me.

He was a Christian from the Karen tribe, a group who suffered much persecution for their faith. Where he came from, people traveled on foot. On Sundays, they trod upon many hills to worship.

He was dark and thin, a quiet man with kind eyes. One day, when we were grocery shopping, I asked him what was the monthly household income in his community . He thought for a moment and answered, "Ten dollars." I can't remember how I responded, but I can almost hear myself exclaiming something that made me looked quite silly.

He once showed me a picture of his family. With his wife, they had three children and adopted five. Every year, they took care of at least four to five homeless children who lost their parents due to the persecution.

Because we lived in an intentional community, some of the chores in the compound were done by volunteers. In the fall, I saw him outside raking leaves; in the winter, shoveling snow; in the spring, planting flowers. He was that kind of neighbor -- the kind who made people throw open their windows and shout friendly greetings.

He was heading back to Myanmar two days before our wedding. When we were saying our goodbyes, he took out a red envelope.

I wept.
He insisted.
We still have that ten dollar note.

2 comments:

E! said...

i recall hearing this one over salmon and truffles... how time flies! where were you neighbors?

Seda said...

New Haven. At the Overseas Ministry Study Center (the global community of christians and missionaries on furlough). My safe haven. =)