Being in Nairobi for two weeks has been the best, most soul-healing experience I have had since, well, probably the last time I was in Nairobi. I don’t know what it is about this place, Kibera specifically, that lifts me straight out of whatever problems I am facing and sends me straight into the safe and loving arms of my Savior. When I was here 15 years ago, I was in the midst of an eating disorder. Yet, for the two weeks I was here, the entire disorder disappeared. All the pain, the thoughts, the compulsions, the behaviors were just….gone. Poof. Only to return the moment I stepped foot on American soil again. This time I don’t have an eating disorder, but I’ve been living with C-PTSD for many years which has caused a great deal of distress, distraction, and suffering.
But yet again, on this African ground I find a peace, purpose, and healing of soul that simply does not exist on American soil. I walk through the streets of Kibera to see the smiling faces and hear the laughter of children who will never know the luxuries I take for granted in America. At the end of every day, my feet are soiled with the blessed dust of the poverty found here. And I do mean the blessed dust of poverty. I know it sounds wrong, but I come home each night to wash the dirt from my feet and it reminds me each time of Jesus. Of Jesus’ humility.
Jesus, the pure and perfect son of a righteous God, who bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, showing us how He…the living God…serves us. Of he who washes the mud, the dirt, the feces from us…something Americans will never even appreciate with our perfectly manicured fingers and toes. Of he who spent his life on earth not holding his kingship as something to be regarded but rather serving, with absolute perfect humility, the “least of these.”
And as ironic as God tends to be, the ‘least of these’ are always the greatest in His kingdom. And when I am here, I can clearly see why. The “riches” we chase in America are the very same toxins that poison our souls to the point of spiritual death. But this sickness does not exist in poverty. Where there is poverty of riches, there is great spiritual wealth. And in spiritual wealth is such joy. In my eyes, the people…the children… of Kibera are far more spiritually wealthy than anyone else I know. Their hope is not in keeping up with the Jones’s…their hope is in the Lord.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10