I listen to an interview on CBC radio as I clear the basement room and clean the floor. The producer of Slumdog Millionaire gives the real story about how the child actors from India were treated by their company. It sounds more than fair: wise, careful, insightful, culturally relevant, generous. I am convicted. I remember joining the chorus of critics and mentioning my concerns on a blog post last year the week after I,among millions, was very touched by this movie. Like so many people I assumed that the "information" I read was true...that there was unfair treatment, etc. The producer stated that their well thought out plans for present and future provision for these actors were all made before there was public outcry and inquiry into their welfare,before the movie won lots of oscars and made tons of money.
I thought of how many times I have been wounded by people not getting the story straight about me, to the point that I have learned to stop caring a lot of the time, or just to assume that it will happen that way. I recall our experience in Africa - being slandered and misunderstood, charged with false motivation and self- interest. Then I put it down to culture clash, jealousy, spiritual warfare. But it's often hard for me to remember how easy it is to do, how prone we all are to latching on to an impression, some hearsay, and then running with it. How often do we have the passion to get the whole story? How often in my life as a missionary was I guilty of a "smaller" version of the sins that were visited against us?
I ponder my future plans: to sit with others to hear their untold or mistold stories; to be the safe person who allows the unexpressed to be spoken, the trauma to be revealed, the hurt to be healed.
Jesus says that it is being faithful in little that counts. If we can't do it there, we can't be trusted with the big stuff.
I turn back to my floor clearing, picking up the little bits of stuff that could get in someone's shoe, finding missing pieces for some treasure yet to be discovered in the boxes still needing sorting. I am more than ever thankful for this humble, hidden task, and opportunity to pray, to ponder, to listen to the world talking on the radio.
In these later years of my life I am learning more kindergarten lessons. I expect it will continue til the day I die.