For us, no groceries in the house and a long day turned into a pizza night.
We walked about a mile and caught a bus to Kabulonga. What would be about a thirty minute walk was not a much faster ride. But, the 25 cents each does not compare to a $10 cab ride.
Yesterday I asked for joy. I got it.
Today I asked for something to write about. Here it is.
We were so hungry and opted for Pizza Inn, our new favorite of the two pizza places in Kabulonga.
I placed our order, to which I received the response: "And what about your free one?"
It was Terrific Tuesday. Pizzas were buy one get one free.
Of course we were ecstatic. We just decided to try this place and what do you know?
We could spend half as much and stretch our weekly budget a bit further.
Sitting out on the porch 25 minutes later, we had two small, piping hot pizzas in front of us.
They even smelled American.
I picked up my first piece and took a bite.
The first bite, and my eyes darted over to the left. Just below the porch's edge, my gaze was locked into the eyes of a little boy.
He and his older brother were selling corn in the parking lot. It was over an hour after dark and they had probably been there all day. From the looks of what remained in their baskets, they hadn't sold much.
He didn't see me. He didn't beg. He just watched.
He gazed longingly at someone who had something he didn't.
I was no longer enjoying my pizza.
I watched as these two boys kept a close eye on the waiter clearing tables. They watched every plate he cleared and every pizza box he threw into the trash , ready to retrieve it if there was a scrap left to be eaten.
They watched as a couple, enamored with themselves, left their table and their half-eaten ice cream. The smaller of the two wanted to climb up and grab, but he didn't.
I was angry. Furious. At the carelessness, at the waste, at the hunger.
I wanted to scream at that couple, lost in their little world.
"FINISH THE ICE CREAM. COME BACK AND SIT DOWN AND FINISH THE DAMN ICE CREAM. FINISH IT! I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE FULL! HAVE MERCY, AND FINISH IT.
The boys made their way back to the foot of our table. By then I was nauseous. The pizza might as well have been bricks that hit my stomach with the weight of gravity, pulling it down into a pit of heaviness.
Sophie tore off the top of her pizza box.
One piece of hers, one piece of mine.
I whistled and slid it through the railing.
HUGE smiles full of shiny white teeth.
"Mulungu akukonda" Sophie said. God loves you.
"Mulungu akukonda. Zikomo" They repeated. God loves you. Thank you.
I turned back to my table and my pizza with tears rolling down my cheeks.
The first encounter I have had in Zambia that required zero processing. There was no emotional delay. It brought me instantly to tears.
I know I saw Jesus.
He didn't beg, He just waited.
He waited to see if I would feed Him, if I would share.
He waited to see if I would love, if I would give what he needed most at that moment.
Jesus is teaching me how to discern in my loving.
He always loved the people he encountered.
He gave them what they most needed at that moment.
Healing or hunger. He discerned whether to feed with loaves and fish or feed from Truth.
Tonight those little boys were hungry.
Love for them looked like pizza.
They needed food and to know that it came from God.