I was still standing but many around had fallen. Dave had come off his motorcycle and separated his shoulder, Cher was very sick and needing my help, a plane at the airport had a flat tire on landing and we had 2 planes, one overhead that needed to land right away. So I had to get out to see if I could help clear it, which I did. But not before our MAF-UG flight had to turn around and go back to Entebbe, leaving passengers here who were going to miss connecting international flights. So, we had to put on another flight with an overnight for the pilot. Got a $13,0000 bill for someone to “inspect” our new aircraft. And so on.
As we talked “beside the fire” I told Bisoke about some of this and I think he could see some of the tiredness in my eyes. He said, “Jon, you know we Africans have a saying about leaders. They are like our traditional houses. There is a center post in the middle of the house and everyone coming in leans on it. They wipe their hands on it after they have eaten or blown their nose, they rest their backs against it when they sit, the goats rub up against it. It is just there where everyone needs it for something and it supports the roof to keep the rain from falling on us. But nobody thinks too much about how it is until it breaks.”
As I looked into the coals and contemplated that, I remembered my experience in the bush were I would be on a walk and come across stumps or tree trunks close to where animals came to drink and bathe. They got all muddy and then got out and rubbed up against the wood until it was as smooth as if someone had taken a belt sander to it. It was really quite beautiful in the midst of the rough surroundings to see mahogany or mopane or other African hardwoods shinny and smooth just from elephant, rhino and buffalo rubbing their rough skin on it. I hope that while I am the center post I become shiny rather than getting “rubbed the wrong way” and breaking. Maybe a lot of that is in the way one looks at the “sanding” process. There is friction and heat and pain as it is happening. But we are looking for the final outcome. Aye, there’s the rub!
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces patience…James 1:2-4