Holy Ground

“I was in Rwanda a few years ago, and a group of us went hiking in the slums of Kigali with a woman named Pauline. Pauline spends her time caring for people who are about to die of HIV/AIDS. She agreed to take us to visit one of her friends who had only hours to live. We hiked through this slum for what seemed like miles, and as we got further in, the shacks became smaller and smaller until all we had to walk on were narrow trails with sewage crisscrossing in streams than ran beside, and sometimes, under the shacks.

Eventually we ended up in a dirt-floored, one-room shack about six – by – six feet. A woman was lying under so many blankets that all we could see was her mouth and eyes. Her name was Jacqueline. Pauline had become her friend and had been visiting her consistently for the past few months. As I knelt down beside her on the floor, I watched Pauline, standing in the corner, weeping. Her friend was going to die soon. What overwhelmed me wasn’t the death or despair or poverty. What overwhelmed me was the compassion. In this dark place Pauline’s love and compassion were simply…bigger. More. It is as if the smallest amount of light is infinitely more powerful than massive amounts of dark. The ground was holy.”

Rob Bell “The Velvet Elvis”

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