I had been bird-watching and was still observing some amazing colourful birds – tiny sunbirds- on the way, when a lady distracted my attention from these winged beauties. Really in the morning when there are no cars, Nairobi is a symphony!
It was Sunday at 8 :30 AM a Scandinavian – Swedish- woman wearing a hat walking with her husband approaches me. “Nice hat” she touches it. “ Where is it from?” – “ Thank you, from Spain”. Then she starts asking a series of questions that end up reaching the point she had pre-paved: “We came here to attend a very interesting course…. because we are Christians. What about you?”
I say : “I am not a Christian”.
-What are you? What do you belong to?
-I belong to myself and also to the Creation. ( Initally I had wanted to answer “I am Eva”, but she didn’t ask ” who”, who are you…)
-What do you mean by that?
-I mean that when I need to talk to someone, I talk directly to the person who can provide me with the answer. For example at work I talk to my boss, not to my colleague. When I have a question about life I ask God, not his priests.
– Oh interesting. And have you asked why there is so much suffering?
-Yes. But you see, even without disturbing God, suffering is an emotion, and so the person who suffers has the choice. Suffering is one of them; not to suffer is another.- Oh that’s true. But what about physical pain? It’s difficult to re-direct one’s attention.
I was wondering why I was supposed to start thinking about what was happening to other people whose life I couldn’t solve. But after that I found out that she was actually worried about me. And later still that she was worried about what would happen 1000 years from now… And all the birds, trees, sunlight were there right now!
Then she says that she is a Christian because she has read the Bible and she feels it is really inspired by God.
– I agree, I replied. But do you think at after He/She inspired the Bible, God stopped speaking?
I didn’t quite get her answer but it was something related to the fact that He still speaks to us in spite of having achieved His perfect book at an early age.
– What I meant is that that maybe the Coran is also inspired by God, don’t you think?
She said she had tried to read it but she hadn’t got that feeling. So I understood that she wasn’t too keen on poetry. I wanted to say that if she had the same feeling we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation but contrary to her, I had no intention of saving her soul. I’m too selfish.
– Then I asked about the Vedas
– Oh the Hindu texts?
I didn’t know that the Vedas were hindu texts but…anyway. She said she hadn’t read them because the Bible was enough for her.
I said she was lucky to have found such a good book, a good book is a blessing! And then as she didn’t seem to like other books I told her that I believe God’s voice could also be heard in Tchaikovsky or Bethoveen’s Symphonies.
Then she came back to her Bible. In fact the Bible seems to be an amazing historic testimony as I learnt from the lecturer of the Walls of Jerusalem museum. Especially the book of Samuel. She said that what she found amazing with the Bible is that it had predicted things and they had all happened. And she asked me if I was interested in knowing about the future.
-Oh my God! I have enough with what I am doing now, don’t you? You see I am walking in Nairobi, the weather is perfect the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are amazing, the trees are huge, why should I worry about what’s going to happen in 1000 years from now?
She must have thought I was a lost case, but however she offered me some reading.
-Thank you but I have a lot of reading. I haven’t finished Karen Blixen’s book yet and many other stuff I am reading. Please save your book for somebody else.
– Thank you, it was nice to meet you. Have you ever been to Sweden?
– Yes I have. To Stockholm. Beautiful country. The White nights, June 24th the sun ddidn’t set.
– It’s a small world isn’t it?
– Indeed it is.
After that I proceeded to buy a Bible – after all Bible means ” book” in greek- about the Kenyan birds. Nairobi is the capital with most bird species in the world.