Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Really Listening

After four years of reading virtually nothing other than the Bible or books about the Bible, I am reading a wonderful book that is not about the Bible.  I was surprised at how much I like it.  It is set in Ethiopia.  It is called "Cutting for Stone" and I would highly recommend it.  One of my coworkers is from Ethiopia, so I decided to talk with him about the book today.  

He showed me a video of Addis Ababa on his computer.  The above church is in Addis Ababa, and he said "That was my church!"  He showed me around, just like you show a person around your home town.  Only it is half a world away, and we were only looking at a computer monitor.  But I could feel his homesickness, mixed with his pride.  I kept exclaiming - "how beautiful!"  and "oh, gorgeous!"  He said "Oh, yes, it is so beautiful."

And then, with my characteristic lack of tact, I said "why did you ever leave?"  I know him well enough to know that he came from a very wealthy family, and I could see how much he loves his homeland.  I know how difficult life has been for him here.  

He just looked at me like I had just asked him why he doesn't eat his computer manuals.  And said:

"I couldn't stand the communists."

Oh, yeah, there's that.  

I wish I took the time to really get to know the people I see every day.  I know my life would be richer for it.  And I know that God doesn't put us together so that we can give each other the cold shoulder. 


  1. What a great story that is! "I couldn't stand the communists." That is a classic line not to be forgotten. That does look like a beautiful church. Is he Catholic? Ethiopia had a lot of Italian influence from colonialism, so I would guess he might be.

  2. Pretty church! I hope you enjoy the book. Perhaps you could try to cook some Ethiopian dishes now that you might have a little spare time. He could probably give you some advice on preparing them. We used to go to a retaurant that had fantastic food, mainly vegetarian but full of flavor and an interesting way of serving it.

  3. Manny, He is a Coptic Christian.

    Kathy, I love Ethiopian food, but that is one cuisine I will be happy to eat only at restaurants. It is very involved.

  4. What a beautiful Church! It looks like one I've seen in London, but I can't remember whereabouts. As for ethipian food, I'm afraid I wouldn't have a clue as to what it's like, let alone how to cook it. I burn water!!

    I still haven't unpacked my food processor Christmas prezzie yet, but once I do...........pies and custard will abound!
    I bet it gets left to someone, unopened, in my will, which I also haven't made yet.
    Right theen, this comment has digressed to it's max, so I shall sign off now.

  5. Thanks Mary-C.

    If you get a moment, check out my blog on my one year anniversary of meeting my son.