Monday, May 2, 2011

No Ma'am!!!!

It was barely more than a whisper, but the word spoken meant more than I could cry out. It was uttered in a room with much going on but when heard other noises were hushed. She leaned over to me in a greeting, with a huge smile. Hers was a face I had seen every week for a few months now. Yesterday there was a relaxed look to it, in previous weeks there had been reserve and caution. She tapped me on the shoulder to ensure I was listening and said it, she said my name. Allie.

Sounds silly doesn't it, to be so excited to hear my name, sounds almost self centered, but let me fill you in as to why that moment touched me so deeply.

Children down here in the Bahamas are taught to address their elders as ma'am or sir. There is no deviation, and it appears to be strictly enforced. For all my months here in Bahamas I have been addressed by bag boys, young teens in restaurants and kids in school as ma'am. I really cannot stand it, I know it is protocol but to me it is a barrier which gets in the way of furthering any hope of building a friendship with the child.

As I get to know the kids I have had the following conversation repeatedly.
Ma'am.. (insert question here)
Yes, but call me Allie
Yes Ma'am.. question continues as originally stated... nothing changes.

But yesterday at church, it finally happened.

She came looking for me as I had not had a chance to greet her before church started. She came with the biggest most "happy to see me" smile I have ever seen. "Allie".

She said Allie.
I heard, "I feel comfortable with you"
She said Allie
I heard, "I trust you"
She said Allie
I heard myself think, "a friendship has begun"
She said Allie
I felt God give evidence of why I am here

Shine on my friends, build patiently the friendships in which God has intended you to Shine.

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