I must have dozens of pictures on my phone right now.
This is our third day here, and we have seen so much–Leipzig, Wittenberg, Kirchentag, new friends, colleagues, churches, events, etc. My phone storage is quickly disappearing.
It’s the pictures I didn’t take that matter the most, though. These are the moments that don’t transfer to a photograph.
A picture of a train platform does not capture what it means to have traveled for twenty-four hours, sleeping one, and then hearing a string of instructions you know you can’t process. Just as you feel the familiar pressure of stress pushing out your chest and jaw, a very quiet, “Don’t worry. I’ll bring you,” is spoken.
As many on this blog have pointed out, our hosts here have been more than gracious and hospitable during our time here. Without such kindness, our trip would be very different.
And it’s not only them. Unpictured moments of kindness seem to permeate our days wherever we are.
Today, it was the moment someone realized our group spoke very little of the language here and just began translating, because this person felt it would be good for us strangers to know what was going on.
It was the moment we were running for the tram, and the person at the bus stop pointed to the button to open the door–because in our hurry we might not have thought of that.
It’s the general respect shown to all people in the value of punctuality–keeping appointments–without rushing. It’s slowing down and being present in the times between. It’s making a meal a social event. It’s the ordinary moments when there is someone caring for someone else.
It’s being willing to look at and really see the whole picture, not just the parts we want to show off, as an earlier post pointed out. I don’t know for sure, but I’d like to hope that these things are not unconnected. The practice of truthfully acknowledging who we are and have been influences how we step into the world tomorrow. Knowing our history gives us the perspective to envision who we want to be now, and lean into ordinary actions of simple kindness and integrity.
After all, those seemingly small actions can really grow to change the world.