2011-02-11: Some Kind Of Reconciled


Hosea_icon.jpg Lucas_icon.jpg

Summary: Lucas and Hosea sit down and have their first civil conversation. It works! Sort of.

Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2011. 6:12pm

Log Title: Some Kind of Reconciled

Rating: PG (Religious Content)

Africa - Rundown Village

The lush green trees of the rainforest hide the small village, with only one road that leads out. The road clearly doesn't get much use, high grass growing up the center. It's nestled next to a beautiful river, flowing with the clean source of water. Still, it is a good walk down a slippery slope to get there.
The village here is poor, but hardly unpopulated. There is one solid building standing at the middle of town, and that's the church, though even that is a roug stucco building. It also seems to double as a clinic. There is no steeple, it is a simple block building, but a cross stands high over the main entrance of the buildling. There are no white people who live here, a dark shade of black on the skin tones of each inhabitant. Though it is small, there are people who live and play. Children run amidst dogs, the women wash clothes and cook while men bring in the food. Some traces of civilization can be found, playing cards and checkers seems to bethe popular activities among the elderly, and they can be found in the shade of any of dozens of trees or around the large fire kept burning at the center.
The rest of the buildings in town are all the same. They are grass huts, and offer little privacy. None of the inhabitants seem to mind, content with their community life. This might offend some of the sensibilities of Americans, but they don't seem bothered by such things.

It's late in the evening, the air finally cooling as much as it does in Africa, which means it's still hot. The air is filled with the gentle sound of a guitar being strummed. Gathered near one of the makeshift tents is a group of about 8 local children. They are swaying, listening to the young man sitting on the supply crate in the center. It's Lucas, barefoot and wearing only a pair of dusty khaki pants, playing a ratty old acoustic guitar. He's singing, it's a modern hymn, and his voice is eerily strong and absolutely gorgeous.
"Over the mountains and the sea
And I will open up my heart
And let the healer set me free
I'm happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands
For I will always sing
Of when your love came down

I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever"

Hosea has been rebuilding homes all day. He's hot and sweaty, but it's better than the frigid February in his mind. The Nigerian wasn't looking for Lucas, but the sound of an English hymn caught his attention. He knits his brow as he follows the sound, not knowing of any Americans likely to be singing that song. He rounds one of the huts, and spots Lucas. The large man looks like he got hit by a truck when he sees Lucas, of all people, singing a praise hymn. He's singing for black children on top of that! A hammer that had been hanging from his hand drops to the ground, and his mouth hangs open. Not many things shock Hosea, but this sight clearly does. He dares not speak, lest he should shatter the moment.

Lucas finishes the song, and the kids all celebrate for a minute, and Lucas grins stupidly at them. "Okay okay okay…" He rolls his eyes, but he clearly likes the attention. "Ah need a break… Go… Do what y'all do… whatever that is…" They look at him a little confused, the language barrier not working in Lucas' favor. "A break. Rest? Ya know?" He watches them all just staring at him.

Hosea starts to smile, watching as Lucas tries to communicate with the children. He calls out at them in Igbo, and they turn around to look at the tall student. They look back at Lucas and start whining, apparently wanting more. Apparently they didn't like him stopping.

Lucas looks up and sees Hosea, "Dude. Ah don't know how to tell them Ah'm done. Ah been doin' this for two hours. Ah done quit four times already," he says, with a smirk. "How do Ah say, 'more later?'"

Hosea grins, and repeats the phrase in Igbo slowly so that Lucas can follow. Of course, when Hosea says it, there is a rich cultural sound to it. The kids pretend not to hear him, hoping that Lucas isn't going to repeat the phrase.

Lucas nods, and then does his best to repeat it to them. It's almost comical, between his American accent and his southern one, its rather butchered, but it's good enough. The kids make disappointed sounds, and slowly begin to disperse. He looks at Hosea, "Thanks. My fingers were right ready to bleed, Ah reckon."

Hosea watches the children go, and moves to sit on a cooler among the school belongings. "Dey seemed to enjoy it," he says. The Nigerian nods to the guitar. "I did not expect you to play a song like dat. How is it dat you know a Christian song?" Lucas isn't a person Hosea would have pegged for a believer.

Lucas makes a slight face, like he's been busted for something. He sighs, "They didn't like Nirvana. One of the English speakin' fellas said hymns, which makes sense given your church. They knew some of the big ones. Amazin' Grace an' the like." He shrugs, "Just because Ah don't believe don't mean they don't."

Hosea nods. "God has moved powerfully in dis village," he says solemnly. "Dey are blessed in many ways. Some say dey only believe because dey are so blessed, mebbe. Connor believes dey are not blessed." He smirks at the thought. "But no, dey are blessed because dey know God." Surely, most who have seen the condition of the village wouldn't count them as blessed, but the villagers themselves seem to side with Hosea's view of their lives.

Lucas shakes his head, "Connor thinks he's always right. It's the thing he does that inspires me. It also pisses me off sometimes. He don't believe, so they must be wrong." He shrugs, "Ah don't believe, but who am Ah to tell them their wrong, or to stop them? If it gives them the strength and hope they need, Ah'd be a fuckin' douche bag to tell them otherwise, however Ah may feel."

Hosea cocks his jaw to one side. "Truth is not about feelings," he answers. "Da truth dey found in God is for all people. I believe you will see God move in a powerful way before dis is finished." He adds, "But you have been different since I last saw you. You have not checked your pocket for your moneys," he notes. "You have not given me any angry looks since you came here." The difference hasn't escaped Hosea's attention.

Lucas shakes his head, "Don't hold your breath. Ah used to believe. Ah don't believe any god would let his people suffer the shit that fills our lives. He can't be real, because if'n he was, he'd be a real asshole." He waves the conversation off, "Ah ain't tryin' to convert you. Forget it." He looks at Hosea at the last, and chews on his lip a moment, looking then off into the darkness around them. "My maw died."

Hosea would have pursued the conversation further, but the change in note to Lucas' mother causes him to pause. The tall African rests his elbows on his knees, and folds his hands in front of him, staring at his dirt covered knuckles. "I am sorry," he says simply.

"Don't be," Lucas says quickly. "She'd been sick for two years. Real bad. Her suffering was used against me by a lot of bad people. Ah murdered someone because of it. 'Tween that, an' how much pain she done been in…" He shrugs, "It's good it's over."

Hosea nods, "It is still a difficult thing to loose a parent," he says. He knows from personal experience. "I hope dat her passing was not in great pain," he adds. "Were you able to get home before she passed?" The African, regardless of what has been happening in the village, does seem genuinely interested in Lucas' situation.

Lucas nods, "Ah was. Ah was there a few hours 'for she went. And she'd gotten to where's she was always hurtin', so…" He shrugs, "It's good she's free." He leans his elbows on his knees, and looks off into the darkness again. "Ah like it here. No distractions. It's easy to think."

Hosea nods, "I do miss it heah. Da city is so strange, too many people, dey are always running about, in a hurry. Life is better heah." He laughs, watching as some of the others scurry about the village. "So many from America think dis place is miserable. Dey act like dere is someting wrong because dey don't have video games and running water!"

Lucas laughs, "To be fair? Ah'd REALLY like a shower and a toilet that flushed." He grins, "But it ain't miserable. Just different."

Hosea laughs. "Well," he responds. "I suppose dat could be something dat city people wouldn't understand. I grew up in a village like dis. I thought toilets were vedy strange da first time I saw dem. I thought it was disgusting to go to da bathroom in da same place you live."

Lucas smiles, "Ah reckon it's all perspective." He considers for a minute, then says, more gently, "Where Ah'm from, black folk are still kind of feared. There ain't many of y'all, and most what are are crooks. We ain't given in to all the equality yet, because we ain't had to." He sighs, "Kinda the same…. Not that Ah want to compare you to toilets."

"I have not heard of dis before I went to America," Hosea says. "Dere is much racism in Africa," he qualifies, "But not over something so silly as da color of a man's skin. It is silly." He motions in the direction of the dreaded camp of Nero. "Da racism dat most have is for religion heah. It makes sense why dey would hate because of religion. Something dat is significant, dat changes how people live deir lives. Skin color is not something dat people choose, it is just a color."

Lucas nods, "Well, it is what it is, Ah reackon." He shrugs, "Ah figure, we ain't got a lot of time here, an' there's better reasons to be done hatin' folk then that." He looks at Hosea, "Sorry."

Hosea nods with a sober tone. He looks the blond teen straight in the eyes as he responds. "Thank you. And I apologize for being so easy to anger, it was not right for me to do so."

Lucas shrugs, "Whatever. Bygones." He looks back at the kids playing nearby. "Do they ever get out of here? Ah mean, do they ever want for more than this? An' get it?"

Hosea purses his lips, and shakes his head. "Dey want to grow up to be like deir mothers and fathers," he says. "In America, people want to make bigger and more. Heah, dey just want to live well." Most of the children don't even wear clothes, not that it means much here. "Dey have all dey need. What more could dey want than what dey have?"

Lucas shakes his head, "Ah reckon Ah just don't get it." He shrugs, "Ah don't have to." He looks at Hosea again, "So, if they got all they need, why'd YOU leave?"

"I did not want to," Hosea admits. "I was afraid to come to such a dark place as America. But God came to me and told me dat I must go, for He had work for me to do in America," he states the matter as if he had been told by another person, no pomp about the matter. "I did not realize all He had planned for me at da time, though."

"Yeah," is all Lucas says in response. It's hard to really criticize or opine when you don't believe it, and don't want to dispel the belief either.

"You do not believe dat God is real because of suffering?" Hosea asks, returning to the earlier comment that Lucas had made. "Do you believe dat suffering is evil?" he asks, rather than asking whether he believes in God.

Lucas just shakes his head, "Stop." It's not mean, it's actually rather gentle, and he notes, "Ah won't try to convince you he ain't real if'n you don't try to convince me he is. Okay?"

Hosea knits his brow. "You can try to convince me He is not real if you like," the Nigerian offers. "A man must seek what is true."

Lucas shakes his head, "No thanks. You got what you need. Who am Ah to tear it down. We'll just, you know, agree to disagree an' shit, okay?"

Hosea is silent for several seconds, trying to figure out how he wants to proceed. "Dat would be to betray everything I believe," Hosea finally answers. "To simply let you die without what you need." A rather bold claim. "I know dat you do not believe what I do, but as a follower of Y'shua, I must obey him first, even if it makes you hate me. I do not wish to be your enemy. Know dat I want only for you to see life as I have. I have been in da dark. I have been without truth. I did not want to hear it. But I still needed it. I am sorry dat it does not meet with da American culture, but I will give you a secret, yes?" He leans in. "It does not go well with African culture, eitha. This village? It is nothing like most African villages. Before Nero, it was Da General. Before da General, it was da Muslims. Before da Muslims, it was ancestor worshipers." He shakes his head, "Dere will always be those who will hate dis village, and all it stands for. When Nero is gone, dere will be more, but dey will not
but dey will not move from dere faith, and neitha shall I."

Pushing to his feet, Lucas stands, and nods, "That's my cue to go." He picks up the guitar, and looks at Hosea. "Ah HAD faith. It proved to be fruitless. So, you got it, Ah don't. Let's just move along." He begins to walk back towards the church, where his Pop Tarts are.

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