It's happening. It happens every time and every time the bitter-sweetness of the moment is just as real as the first time.
The smudges are fading...
The red-ish brown marks of dirty fingers throughout the pages of my Bible are beginning to disappear. Some would think it better for the pages of the Word of God to be clean, while I respect your stance, I disagree. Because when I see the dirty print of one of my Malawian brothers or sisters on one of the pages its like I'm there again, going on a journey of discovering Jesus with them.
My memory of the red dust begins to fade and I start to forget. I become preoccupied. While yes my beloved family is always on my mind, life happens. But when I see the smudge during my daily reading or in one of my religion classes suddenly life stops and I'm sitting next to Lekelini in Lumbadzi church and she is flipping through the pages of my Bible as fast as she can. She cant seem to find the book fast enough but I don't help because I love what comes next...she finds the book, chapter, and verse and glances towards me to make sure I know she did it by herself. I tell her through our unspoken look just how incredibly proud of her I am! She runs her finger across the words as the service continues leaving a small strike of smudges behind her.
The smudges remind me of the little unmemorable moments that I told myself to never forget. And yet when the smudges are gone the reminders come less. I still remember the big things, its just the daily life moments that I miss. The smudges fading is a close to a season. It happens every year the smudges, or what ever the significant memory is (once is was my chaco tan line on my feet), fade away. The moment I can't see them any more is heart breaking. It's the moment of reality. But it is also a moment of great joy. It is seeing the closing of one season to bring in the new one! If the smudges stayed forever I would never be able to move past the past. I would dwell daily on the past moves of God instead of pursuing the present move. I am so thankful for the smudges in life that remind me of what God has done, but I am also thankful that He allows them to fade so that we can move on. I am beyond excited to see what happens this year as my smudges fade and I watch as God cleanses me to prepare me. But yet I still pray and believe in a God who loves the good smudges and He will allow me to see them when I need to be reminded of what He has done so that I will know He is faithful to do it again...and maybe this time next year the smudges will be giant stains that declare the greatness of a faithful God.