Bishop Rutto Visit
"We seek to know each other’s stories, even across the globe, for it is through these stories that our hearts meet, our hands work, and our lives cross." - The Mama Ada Foundation
Recently, Bishop Christopher Rutto from Kenya visited us in Minnesota (pictured here with Sharon Engel and the Rev. Katherine Lewis at St. David’s). During his visit, we took a walk through my neighborhood. In Kenya, there are many people out and about; in the United States there are far fewer. It is also less common for people to initiate conversation with one another in the United States than in Kenya. Every time I step off a plane at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, I know deep down that I am somewhere different than my usual place – there is a pulsing warmth and interaction among people there.
And so it is - we each sense a palpable shift, as we step off a plane or a boat or a train or a motorbike - into another country, another county, another state, another neighborhood, even into another’s home. We are thrust into another’s ways, into their customs, into their greetings, into their very prayers. One night I looked up to the sky with friends in Kenya, as we laughed to remember that we have the same moon. That even as so much is different for us, the moon is the same for all.
When we move from one place to another, we enter liminal space. Author and theologian, Richard Rohr, describes it as:
“Where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…..This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed.”
As often as we can, we must find courage to go somewhere new, to see another’s ways, to greet another in their life. And why must we have the courage to do so? For Marcel Proust urges, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
When we enter a space in between, on our way to somewhere different – we begin to take a second and a third and a fourth look - we are challenged to question our assumptions about the “right” way, we are challenged to consider our ways of behaving in the larger world, we are challenged by the questions “How much is enough for me?” and “Where do I and where can I give, maybe more?”. And this is all well and good, for it is then that we just might come to see a new way of being together that means greater opportunity and hope for all.
At The Mama Ada Foundation, we have long held: “We seek to know each other’s stories, even across the globe, for it is through these stories that our hearts meet, our hands work, and our lives cross.” Please join us in saying yes to entering new stories….and asante sana (thank you) to Bishop Rutto for traveling to a new place. We were blessed by his company.- Julie Keller The Mama Ada Foundation