Saturday, July 12, 2008
This evening I had the privilege of hanging out on the upstairs deck of the apartments above the church to celebrate a birthday of one of the Cuban families daughters. There were games, fantastic cake and I'm not a big cake fan, but this stuff was stupendous, cold beer, shrimp with homemade garlic sauce and my favorite...mouth-watering, seasoned pork hot off the grill. Oh and there was a lot of Spanish flying around, loud clapping, dancing and shouting and lots of laughter. It was refreshing to say the least...I needed it.
I felt the press to just enjoy the people and hang out this evening even though most of the english speakers had left. So I entered in, pushed through the awkwardness of the cultural separation. I just planted myself down on the balcony and entered into the fun.
During the party one of the Cuban men came up to me and gave me some of the best complements I have ever gotten. He said in Cuba the Pastors are "closed" but I was "open". A friend interpreted further and told me that the man was impressed about how I was part of this community, at peoples homes, drank beer with them and out in the open and not just at home behind closed doors like the Pastors he was accustomed too. He said he felt the Pastors who lived "closed" were hypocritical. I have been wanting to connect with this guy since he came into our neighborhood but he has only visited our church once and seemed distant to me...I felt that wall come down this evening as we all danced on the veranda, celebrated the life of his girl and laughed together.
After times like that, I am so grateful that Jesus set me free from the law and ushered me into a life of freedom that has resulted in passing through cultural barriers and made me able to connect in a honest and non-religious way. I have been set free to enjoy life....with those who need a friend not judgment.