Out of the Mouth of Babes

Early 2008 my wife flew from Johannesburg to Durban, South Africa with our eldest daughter.  The purpose being to celebrate/commemorate her completion of high school.  They were gone four nights.

An hour prior to their scheduled return flight, and together with daughters E (then, 7) and L (4), I left our beautiful 100-year-old rental house with its Jacaranda tree in Kensington, for the 20 minute drive to OR Tambo International Airport.

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We were travelling east on Langermann Drive in our Chrysler minivan and nearing the intersection robot (street light) at Queens Street.

Our 4 daughters. Louisa in pink.  Erika far right.

Our 4 daughters. L in pink. E far right.

Since leaving home, L, who was seated in her car seat directly behind the driver’s seat, had been in a kid’s happiest of places – an imaginary world of make-believe events and conversations.

As I slowed to stop, it was as if the van’s slowing timed perfectly with her exhalation of breath, during which she exasperatingly, almost exhaustedly so – like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh – uttered from her created world the following statement –

“I guess I still love Jesus!”

At the time my family attended a non-denominational church called Bedford Chapel.  I don’t have any idea if the preceding Sunday had induced or provoked this internal dialogue, but it did provide my soon-to-be colleagues at The Sinomlando Center for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, endless laughter and pleasure.

The reason being:  Once I shared this story with my colleagues, forever thereafter “I guess I still love Jesus!” became their daily barometric means of expressing how they felt physically, emotionally, et cetera.

We had just been awarded a major 3-year, multi-million dollar United States Agency for International Development President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grant, which meant work responsibilities skyrocketed overnight.  We were endlessly over-working, over-extending ourselves, yet at the same time loving the shared challenge.

Few Sinomlando personnel had cars, so almost daily I would give a ride to Lois, Nokhaya or Cliford.  When I stopped to pick up the two ladies, in particular, as they were seating themselves and closing the van’s door, I would ask, “How are you this morning?”  They loved to turn, smile, and with a heavy sigh say –

“I guess I still love Jesus!”

Try it!  Like Green Eggs and Ham (and Sam), you might like it too.

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3 Comments

Filed under Life, Memories, Religion and Faith

3 responses to “Out of the Mouth of Babes

  1. Deb

    Love this post!

  2. craig bird

    Sounds like she was paraphasing many of the OT prophets! And the appreciation and adaptation by world-weary adults proves the theological value I think.

    Thanks for this. And the jacaranda photo–they are so beautiful you forget how awesome when you haven’t seen them for awhile.

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