The fruit-stand-man and I are friends. He picks out his best fruit for me and I smile in an endearing, I-don't-speak-Russian kind of way. Yesterday, he handed me his best watermelon and I said "спасибо." Startled, he responded with "Sank you verrry much."
"Talking" with fruit-stand-man is often one of my favorite parts of my day.
Because that's what it's all about, really. At its core, this trip is about being excited to meet people like the fruit-stand-man.
"Here, girls, take these cookies for the bus ride. And come back to Greece to visit us!"
"Keeeemberly! Come! Keeemberrly!"
"Пока, Ola!" *tiny wave from Ola*
"I love you very much. I don't want to go home. I love you!"
"Picture? Here, come stand here. With me. Good picture."
"You guys are just...so cool! I made you friendship bracelets."
"Zumba, zumba. Hakuna Matata. My name is Chicky Chicky. I am from Senegal."
"We got remarried in Vegas so we could get a free limo ride up the Strip."
I love empty places. I love empty airports and stadiums and auditoriums. I love seeing all the empty chairs lined up in rows. But I think I love their emptiness because they are filled to the brim with stories. How many people have sat in one place? Why were they there? What made them happy?
As I meet these people, I understand more and less about myself and the world. But I always learn more about God. Because I get to see His face in His children he lets me encounter. To love another person is truly to see the face of God. And I think that's what He wants. He wants us to try to see and understand his never-ending love for every single person.
It's funny, because it's easy to feel small when you are crammed into a metro car and you feel like you don't matter at all in the scheme of things. And you don't. Not to the world, at least. But I have never met one person that didn't matter to God. And if they matter to God, then the matter to me.