Saturday, October 20, 2012

So... this is heaven?

 On Saturday's I will be sharing memories of our time spent in the Amazon jungle. Today I share something I wrote several years ago for The Jungle Hut.

I wish you all could meet a friend of mine from the Ye'kwana tribe. Cristina was my neighbor for all those years we lived in the village. When I first met her, she was a married woman with 5 children. A few months later, her husband died of a high fever, probably yellow fever. This made her a widowed mother of 5. Life in the jungle is hard even with a husband but for a woman one to build the house every five years or so when it falls down...HARD!

About this same time, I had my first back surgery. This meant I could no longer do my own laundry in the river. Lugging dirty clothes down the bank and then heavy, wet clothes back up was no longer possible. Cristina showed up one morning and told me that God had led her to do my laundry for me. I had been praying about whom to hire. It is hard in a small, cashless society to hire one person over another. But this was the perfect answer, as everyone knew Cristina needed help. She did my laundry for several years.

One dry season, she was collecting fire wood, which must be collected before the rains and kept under a roof to use during the long rainy season. She stopped at my door and took off the head strap of her handmade back pack.
(These men are wearing the same style back pack.)

"WOOO", she called.
I opened the door and as she came in I could tell she was not feeling well. Now, Cristina stands at about 4'8" or so and might weigh 45 kilos. I had just watched her come in carrying a good 25 kilos of firewood on her back. Her garden was probably 2 to 3 kilometers away, so, she had every reason to not feel well!
She asked me if I could give her a "red" pill for her pain. The "red" pill was ibuprofen, the Miracle Pill in the jungle!

I went into the store room to get it for her, and when I came back out, she was sitting with a smile on her face looking around my house.I gave her the pill and began to tell her how that in heaven there would be no need for medicine as there would be no pain. And there would be no need to gather firewood, as God would provide all our needs and be the very light. I said it would be so great in heaven , to have all our needs met and provided AND , we would each have a mansion!!
Her face lit up, she looked at me and said something I will never forget. She said, "Heaven will be like your house!"

Now, my heart stopped for a moment. My house, that she was referring to was a mud hut! With a palm roof!! When you touched the walls, pieces of it fell off. Worms and cock roaches nested in the palm roof and even occasionally fell on you, not to mention the lizards and snakes! I had a generator and lights though, and a rough cement floor. I had colorful curtains, and a sink!
To Cristina's mind, this was as good as she could imagine!! (Inside The Jungle Hut)

I remember thinking, "Please God ,let her be wrong! Heaven has got to be better than this!"
And then I began to think, in Cristina's limited imagination, my home was a mansion.
What if, in our limited human imaginations, we are as far off as she is in what we imagine heaven will be like!


  1. I love this image. We probably are as far off as Cristina! Our imaginations are so rooted to our experience on this earth. Beautiful post.

  2. Good to see you are around. I should have picked your mind before I went off to Guyana. I was warned about the danger in the Mount Roraima region
    and scrapped the idea.

    Unfortunately, I can not blend in due to skin tone and was saddled with multiple relatves. Oddly, I am safer in the jungle than I am in town.

    Strange trip which started out with the locals at the airport stealing my pumpernickel bread. My girlfriend insisted I wear an Italian silk shirt which had predictable results. I was so hot I stood in the thuderstorms for relief. I went to sleep and the family located the suitcase with my food.

    I can't say I am angry about them eating everything and planting some stuff that will not grow. When I woke at 6AM everyone was knocked out from eating food from the suitcase.

    Actually, I am more amazed at never seeing books other than a school book.
    I am going to try and return in February but Roraima is off limits. Too much smuggling and crime in the area.

  3. To you it was a mud hut, but to her it was a mansion. You had something she could only dream of. And it gave you a different outlook on the possession you have.

    Remember that a mud hut is a mansion when you have G-d's love within it and a mansion will become a mud hut when you leave G-d out.