I came across a charming paragraph in the opening chapter of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. It’s a beautiful (yes, beautiful) novel set in Botswana by Alexander McCall Smith.
Think outside the box a little with me for today’s Sabbath meditation, as we read a description of our main character, Mma Ramotswe–
She was a good detective, and a good woman. A good woman in a good country, one might say. She loved her country, Botswana, which is a place of peace, and she loved Africa for all its trials. I am not ashamed to be called an African patriot, said Mma Ramotswe. I love all the people whom God made, but I especially know how to love the people who live in this place. They are my people, my brothers and sisters. It is my duty to help them solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do.
That might not make much sense to you unless you’re reading along on page 4 of the book, where I found it, but it’s pretty powerful stuff.
Read it again.
Then pay particular attention to this:
I love all the people whom God made, but I especially know how to love the people who live in this place…. That is what I am called to do.
The people who live in this place…
How good are we at loving the people right in our own homes? Maybe pretty good at it. Maybe.
But what about our neighbors? Our colleagues? That woman from church who gossips all the time but pretends she’s sharing prayer requests? The people who really annoy us on a daily basis and kind of grate on our nerves, day in and day out?
I really don’t want to love them, quite frankly.
But they are here, in this place. With me.