Cast your bread upon the waters

. . . and it comes back to me

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — I woke this morning to full-throated hymn-singing and the sounds of the walls shaking from churches a block away on either side of me that reminded me the missionaries who arrived here a century and a half ago may have left gruesome suffering in their wake, but didn’t come here for nothing.

Still, my guard was down when the very nice and exceptionally courteous girl who serves breakfast here asked me if I was going to church. I don’t know if I have ever been asked that. I once had a boss, two, in fact, who felt free to discuss what had happened at his church that weekend, which I thought to be as appropriate to the workplace as describing one’s sexual exploits, but at least he never asked me about my church. So I had no graceful evasive reply at hand ( still don’t — what do you say? No, I have a headache?) so I just said, “No.”

“No?” she said, disbelievingly, like I was pulling her leg, making a blasphemous joke, and when I didn’t burst into laughter or take it back, she added, “why not?”

Again, the problem of never having had this conversation left me at a loss (none of your business? Why should I?). So I said: “I don’t go to church.” Which, again, felt very personal to me.

Anyway, after a couple more rounds of “why not?” She got the last word, mercifully, with: “You should go to church.”

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One Response

  1. I agree with the girl, you should go at least once. Just to see and hear it, not necessarily for religious reasons, but for the experience.

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