A Broken Egg and a Whole Heart

Posted by on May 21, 2012

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in a fast food restaurant for the first time in a long time, and on my way out, I stopped for a quick iced tea refill by the fountain drinks. There wasn’t a line so I absently pushed my cup beneath the ice dispenser and waited. A few seconds later, I gasped so loudly that the lady next to me stared in confusion. She couldn’t understand – and I couldn’t contain – my horror at the single fallen ice cube that had missed my cup and landed on the floor. That precious ice cube!

I realized in that moment that something about me had changed. I know that neuroscience explains that culture can alter our brain structures. And I had just returned from a year living in East Africa, a place where ice didn’t really exist. Maybe, I thought, such science explains why losing that ice cube felt so tragic. The intense immersion in a new culture had altered my brain…

Then I got to thinking about when the change had happened. What had caused it, exactly, and at what point did I become different? Was it when our village school cook brought me a broken egg in a plastic bag and asked if she could take it home? Science reminded me this was a kind of neurogenesis; the woman was establishing patterns of resourcefulness. Or was it the weighted knowledge that as I walked home from town every Sunday with my good friend and I stepped foot over my threshold and she into hers that we were entering drastically different worlds? I would turn the knob in my shower and rinse away red dust and sweat under clean running water. But my friend would need to warm water over a fire before trekking to wash up in the bath hut outside.

So maybe instances like these – and a million more – are what changed my way of thinking. All I know is that everything changed – my choices for a career, the things I eat, my perspectives on bondage to material consumption. And yet until recently I still wrestled with what had moved me in these deepest places, these locales that went far beyond my mind stretching into my enigmatic heart?

I realized that it was the woman with the egg, not the revelation of her resourceful nature, that had started the deep shift in me. It was because I knew her. I knew which direction she walked home. I knew how many grandkids she fed every night and I knew she was 53 years old. I knew, too, the sound of her laugh and that sometimes her worn feet were paralyzed in pain.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Knowing that my friend drew bath water from a bucket as I stepped beneath running water, knowing her smile and the gap between her front teeth, knowing she would always accompany me on my Sunday evening walks home… knowing her unwavering peace. Such deeply personal knowledge and the power of relationship had forever changed me.

I still marvel at all of this because quite honestly, I hadn’t expected that devoting a small portion of my life to knowing and investing in a marginalized community would actually change me in so many ways – and help me far more than any help I might have offered. I really had no idea that a woman holding a broken egg in a plastic bag would begin to help me learn what it is to pursue a whole heart. ~ Audra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *