I ventured out into London with the Thai Dorms girls and the Zimbabwe Team. Our entire group was starving, so we were searching for a place to get fish and chips. When everyone had their food, we started making our way to a small park to eat. I was in no hurry, however, because I (intelligently) had taken my malaria meds on an empty stomach. So, I wasn’t feeling well.
I was lagging behind the group, nibbling on some bread in hopes that my stomach would settle, when I noticed a girl sitting in front of a light post. She had a cardboard sign beside her that read something along the lines of, “Poet for Rent.” I love all things creative, so I was immediately drawn to her. I asked if she was going to recite a poem to me, and she replied that if I gave her a topic, she would actually write me a poem!
I thought that was ten times better than simply hearing one, but I couldn’t think of a topic. I noticed she didn’t have an accent, so I asked where she was from and her name. Suze. It turns out she is from New Orleans and she was traveling the world on a quest to find the meaning of life. She was confused about her purpose for living and thought that if she followed the paths of the Buddhist ascetics, then maybe she could find solace. With her, she carried only a small typewriter and a purse.
Eventually, Suze asked why I was in London, and I told her I was on my way to Thailand to tell people about Jesus and document a team of girls who were teaching English to Thai children. After a few minutes of talking, a French woman came and started yelling at Suze about begging money. She told the woman she would leave after she finished my poem. I thought for a moment about what subject would give me the most insight into her mind, and I asked her to write about the way religion affects our society and how people react to it. This is what she wrote:
Religion. It is the magic ink, scrawled
invisibly in our veins—
the fecund mind of child
wherein all is blossoming—
the hose’s whipping mouth
that never stops its dance,
that builds a shrine
wherever it’s eyes land.
The fog is lifted from the earth
and falls down, then we call it rain—
we throw our handfuls of confetti
then we are kissed by colors below.
Do prayers come from us
or do they come from above,
or are we wearing blankets
woven from our own breath?
The words haunted me. I loved it, but at the same time it was so sad. Her poem screamed out with longing for Christ, and I wanted to just sit with her all day and tell her about the preciousness of our savior. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more time. She was being run off, and I had to get back with my team. As a last effort I said, “I don’t know what you believe or know about Jesus Christ, but is there anything you want me to pray for you about?” She asked me to pray that she could find her purpose.
My heart broke for her. I pray that in every country during her travels, a follower of Christ will come across her path and sow another seed of love. I hope at the end of her journey she will have found her purpose in Christ and in Him alone.
Please join me in praying for her.