when you don’t want to be immune to life

‘I’ve needled a few pigs.”

That’s what he says after he’s filled out the forms and the doctor peels back the tab on the syringe.

“So, yeah – just feel free to — “ he waves his right hand in the direction of his left deltoid.




“Yeah – just —  go ahead.” The Farmer, he finds words and he grins. I wink, loving him like this.

Loving him for saying yes and leaving the farm and all his pigs and going to Ecuador on Monday with Compassion bloggers.

“So does this mean you’ll squeal like a pig too?” The doctor chuckles, holding the needle high.

“Well, we doing this one for God and His kids.” The Farmer looks long at me, and he never takes his eyes off me.

And the doctor injects him with a sliver of steel and this vaccination for Yellow Fever and there’s something about it, the taking of a needle — and praying to be vaccinated against apathy and affluence.

Because loving God has to be more than simply hating evil –- because love is a verb.

Because His Kingdom coming has to be more than believing — because we’re the Kingdom of God and how are we becoming it, bringing it, building it?

Because He took pins of iron and he laid it all down and life cannot be unpacked without the unfolding of hands.

And life is only lived when it is given —so you have to get out of yourself, give of yourself and fall in love outside of yourself — and go into the world though you’re afraid and give though you don’t know how and whisper everywhere, whisper everywhere: wake up because the stone is rolled away and He is not a tame lion and  listen, there it is — His lion heart beating everywhere.

Something alive, it could run through our veins.


After the shots, after picking up the prescriptions for anti-malaria meds, we stop at a department store. We will take her what she needs, this Compassion sponsored child that our Hope-girl had prayed for, this girl Hope has picked out.

“Twelve, Mom. She needs to be twelve like me. I want to write her letters and I want to dream God-sized dreams with her and I want to be her friend.”

When Hope sees Lidia’s photo, she rubs her hands happy, braces flashing. “Yes — that’s her.” She says it like she’s always known. She says it like she’s met a sister.

Football (pink). Knitting needles and yarn (pink). A dress (not pink). Every aisle, I keep thinking – what would Hope like? What would make Hope’s heart sing?

We will bring Lidia things of hope.






The Farmer picks out bedding for the family, compares thread count.

The man who needles pigs, who takes a needle, finds the best terry towels, picks out socks, looks for pajamas. He tells me he can feel his arm. I can feel his heart.

“Do you think Lidia will smile?” I ask him this, holding up a dress. She looked shy in her photo. Sombre? Scared?

Am I the one scared?

I have been here before. I stood in a one-room shack in Guatemala that was a home and I cupped a nine-year-old’s face and listened to her tell me she will be a doctor someday and I said we’d make our lives bread and shook her brave father’s hand and I fell in love with life and her sure smile and the way it felt, to give a piece of you away and find yourself found.

And I am scared.

Scared my heart won’t break again and I won’t see and I won’t fall as hard for the beauty of them all and I won’t feel it again, poverty’s hot fever, and I am scared that I’m the one immune.

Real life’s written in the book of life and why be deadened to the ache and the hope and the pain and humanity all wondrously unfurling? Who is alive enough to unfold, to be written into hope before this life’s over?

Unfold and be the new river running in the wilderness, the abundant life pulsing in the vein, overflowing out of the life, and who lets their story be His story?

Christ is one live, wild vaccine and once He’s in you, the life is about changing, about getting grace born in you and the giving of God around you, about loving your neighbor as yourself and you like eating and believing and the living free, and wouldn’t it be a waste of a life not to give the beauty away?

I am afraid but I am washed in the blood and won’t He wake me up?

There is no living without giving and Christ, He loved the world so much He gave, and He shows the listening ones how.

“I think Lidia will smile.”

The Farmer says that.

He says that and he is smiling.

And he takes me by the hand, pulls me into him, and I’m smiling too, wrapped in arms that have felt the needle, the steel like a nail, and everything that’s deadened, it pulses alive and so beautiful, so ready and willing.



Related: The Last Getting Ready: When You May Be Pregnant and May Not Know It (and Levi wearing the Iconic Pink Dress)