From the Archives: A Nugget for the Journey
Hot and cramped. That is what public transportation is here in Zambia. And the bus from town to where I live is even more hot and even more cramped than normal. So today I plopped into the bus next to a girl about the age of 20. Because of the whole hot and cramped thing, I don’t usually strike up conversations with the people I am sweating beside but today I did.
Her name was Naminga and she had the sweetest Bemba accent that accentuated her darling smile. We got to asking the normal get-to-know-you questions. Where abouts do you stay? Do you have any brothers or sisters? And particularly for me, What are you doing here? And yes, how long are you here for. I always get this one and I am not a fan because I justdon’tknowandmaybeitisokaythatIdon’tknowalrightugh.
This time I shrugged and responded with my familiar joke “Find me a husband and I will stay here a long time!” Even though I am in no way on the market for a hubby, I have gotten some laughs out of it in the past.
She did smile but then she looked at me more seriously.
“A man here might marry you because he thinks you are kind, because he thinks you are rich, or because you are white.” She ticked off the points on her fingers as she spoke. “And what happens then? What happens when you aren’t kind or when there is no money or when…” she paused “you are in the sun too much and get a really deep tan.” We both laughed.
“That is why we have to wait for God to send us the right one. If not, both people will be disappointed. God will give us the desires of our hearts and that includes the right man to marry.”
As the rickety bus josteled us, I was struck by the deep counter cultural wisdom this young woman had. Especially here in Zambia, women are overly pressured to find a husband, get married and have kids. You are not considered an adult until you are married. (Even if you have a job, live on your own, and provide for yourself!) But Naminga’s deep self-awareness and faith in God’s provision eschewed the desperation that this culture implants in single women and replaced it with contentment. Something all of us could use a bit more of.
A little nugget for the journey.