Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Undo-able Thing

Photo credit: Colin Puchala

In Llallagua, I got out of bed in the mornings, washed, dressed, ate breakfast and stepped outside to the clang and holler of the busy market across the street from our hotel. To the right of me, as I inhaled the battling scents of morning in the city, of urine and freshly baked bread, rotting garbage and frying doughnuts, was a woman who slept curled on the sidewalk and the smells coming off her were almost visible in their thick and wafting potency. She slept there like the dead every night through the cold and noise, and our first evening in the city we looked to see that she was actually breathing, still as she was. One morning, I watched her wake and rise to sit, her eyes impassive, blinking, and then she gathered her things as though she had only napped on the couch and was now about to set off to run errands, or cook lunch, or write a letter that she had been postponing. But for the grace of God she went elsewhere.

And I have been thinking about dignity, about this woman sleeping on the streets like a dog, with the dogs, and of the beauty that lay sleeping and curled inside her. Inside one of the poorest countries in one of the poorest cities, one of the poorest women slept outside our door on the ground, full of worth and goodness, and nothing she had done, and nothing the world had done could diminish the truth that rose from her: that dignity had been fused to her soul. She could not be unmade from being made in the image of God.

Try as we might in our pride and judgement, there is no undoing of worth, no undoing of the mercy of God’s goodness grafted to the roots of a heart. Because when all else is gone, left forgotten and rotting in the gutter, dignity remains immovable, inseparable, ever fixed and alive, pulsing in the dirt and lashed like an anchor to the truth that set it down.


Greg said...

Profound on so many levels and meaningful on a personal one. Back to lurking... Take care.

Angela said...

i like lurkers, greg. come on in and put your feet up.

Jody Blue said...

Thank you for sharing the lovely in the unlovely.

mm said...

Words fail... and yet I must comment...

Your sharing has hit a deep cord. The images stay behind my eyelids.

Dignity remains... yes, may I live in that truth today.

Thank you..

Debra said...

Wow! What a profound picture and what a moving word picture you have painted. Such truth! Thank you for sharing.

Jean said...

I must confess that I've never thought of dignity as inate. But your words have shed new light on that.

Created in dignity in the image of God.


Angela said...

hey, ladies! thanks for stopping in and for those good words of yours. so how did you find me all at once like that?

Joan said...

Thank you. You touched me. I will be back.