This is her story. His story.
A family sits at the bottom of a mountain. Their skin dark as night and their hands etched with the scars of a wounded life. A small boy rises and begins the long trek up the mountain...and then down he comes, slowly...deliberately. He stumbles. The rock he is balancing on his head almost brings him to his knees. He steadies himself...thinks of his hungry sister...and continues down the mountain.
At the bottom, his mother breaks the rock into pieces. No fancy equipment...just the resolve of a woman determined to feed the hungry mouths that stare at her wonderingly every morning.
The father. He peddles. Please buy our rock...take what we have to offer...it's not much but it's all we have and it's hope. My son carried it himself...my wife perfected it and my daughter is starving.
A sale...relief...gratefulness. One dollar and it's enough to feed the mouths today.
The sun sets. The family sleeps. And they awake to the picturesque view of the sun rising over a mountain of glory...but the glory whimpers under the crush of empty stomachs and souls searching for hope.
The boy gathers his resolve and begins again...up the mountain...down the mountain...stumbling but always balancing and marching forward. The rock is smashed and the mother carries it down the gravel road to the father. She limps as the fabric tightens around her foot bleeding with the cuts of the glorious mountain. A stranger approaches her and she stops. A white woman dressed peculiarly inquires about the fabric tied around her aching foot. She tells her story. The story of her life...the cuts of the mountain...the paradox of the beauty cutting deep into her as she survives on its sustenance.
The white woman listens and the wounds of the black woman cut deep into her own soul. She takes off her own shoes and gingerly hands them to the mother. The woman stares, incredulously at the gift. For me? For free? Every day I work tirelessly alongside my family to survive and you are offering me that which carried you into my world? For nothing? No work? Her eyes steady. The disbelief of it all melds with the grace and the sacrifice and she takes them.
She walks towards her husband. Stiffly...oddly...her toes scrunched and crowded. Her eyes gleaming and her heart rejoicing. Not in the day. Not in the mountain, full of glory in the twilight. Not in the dollar made. Not in the shoes. But in the gift. She rejoices in the story of a stranger bestowing a gift and ambling through the rest of the village barefoot. Just like the natives. Forsaking comfort and entering into the world of the meek and forsaken. Inspiring hope in a hopeless land. Just like Jesus.
"Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." - Matthew 25:40