The title for my blog derives from a conversation Erica had at Harare airport a few years ago, after we had paid a visit to our very good friends, Sean and Michelle, and their family. She was quite upset as we prepared to leave. It had been a long time since we had seen them and it looked like another long time until we would see them again.
The immigration officer took one look at Erica, and said ‘why are you upset?’. She explained the circumstances, and the lady simply said, ‘well don’t cry, just come back. Zimbabwe won’t dissolve’
It was at a time of extreme difficulty for the people of Zimbabwe, and there was very little in terms of hope and expectation for the future, but this lady’s cheery optimism and brutal statement of obvious facts was striking and has remained with me ever since.
There are so many times, when circumstances and situations change, that we can feel things can never be the same, or even worse, there is no future.
Through the work of CiCA UK we have had the heart-rending privilege of walking with families through the most horrendous situations, often involving bereavement and loss. Situations that make all concerned wonder what on earth the future can look like. And then as the dust settles and the clouds begin to lift, we have seen the incredible power of the human spirit, fuelled by the grace of God, to discover a new future, a new hope, a new direction.
This year the landscape of our relationships in Zambia has been shaken again with the loss of a number of very close friends. People that we have known all the years we have known Zambia. People without whom we could not imagine Zambia. And yet they have gone, and we are here, and there is life and there is hope.
As I stood in church this morning ,my mind went back over the 28 years since I first entered that building, I thought about all the people that have graced our lives and whose faces are no longer seen. The vast majority of the congregation had young faces. People starting out on their journey in life without the reference points that I have considered so foundational, and without the history that means so much. And yet somehow it doesn’t matter, because just because everything changes in my view, Zambia doesn’t dissolve.
New generations rise, take their place, and live their lives. That is challenging and liberating. We have a part to play, we have a window of influence, and an opportunity to live. For a number of years it will seem that the world as we know it is all that matters and is all that means anything.
At times we may encounter circumstances that are so difficult, so unsettling, so disturbing that we can’t see how we progress through them. That is a time to recall the many times that all things seem to have ground to a halt, only to see life and the shoots of recovery begin to emerge.
Life here often looks impossible, but time and again we have seen the truth, that whatever things look like, Zambia won’t dissolve.