(The UCU Standard – Monday, September 23, 2013) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ The old Yiddish joke goes like this. ‘Do you know what makes God laugh? People making plans.’ This is the mystery of it, of the Gospel itself, really. Even our lives, fragile and short as they are, are not ours to over-script. No, we need to open them to possibilities outside ourselves, and when we do, surely good surprises will come along the way. It’s as true for any person as it is for an institution like UCU. I was reminded of this while around the dinner table – twice – during my family’s recent season back in North America.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Most of us will likely say thanks to your mom in some fashion. Good thing. A mother's job is not easy.
This country is one of contrasts. Red-dirt roads cross lush- green landscapes. People familiar with war smile easily and greet you genuinely. Beauty meets ugliness, plenty meets want, and life meets death here. Uganda may be, as Winston Churchill said, the Pearl of Africa. But, if so, it's a tarnished jewel.
Sunday is Mother's Day, and I'm reminded that I've never held my mother, looked into her eyes and told her that I love her. I've never offered a soft kiss on her cheek. I've never even given my mother flowers. My mom died before I got the chance.
And now, for a change, some good news from the Arabian Peninsula.
Jarring images of how an Islamic extremist burst into, of all places, a hospital in the last days of 2002, to fire bullets from his Kalishnikov into the heads of our friends will linger for a while. My wife Jean and I and some colleagues are still laying to rest what has become known across Yemen as 'The Jibla Tragedy.'