Sophia Sighting: Iquitos

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Location: Iquitos, Peru

By: Jenni Taylor

I rediscovered this picture in my files the other day. This was taken in January of 2012, while the city of Iquitos experienced its worst flooding in the last 100 years. One particular neighborhood was completely submerged. People cut doorways into their roofs and laid down new floorboards three feet or so away from the rooftop. Entire families lived in the rafters, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping there for months as they waited for the waters to recede. The man in the baseball cap is tall and lanky. He crawled into a small roof space where the other man had been cooking soup over a small stove. He offered him some bags of rice, and then asked if there was anything he could pray for. The man said yes, and asked for prayer for his health, as the flooding had caused a rise in the mosquito population and more and more people were dying of dengue fever. The two men stayed crouched in the roof space and prayed together.

I found Sophia here not only because of the connection between strangers, but the wisdom to offer prayer after asking first. People’s needs might be different than what you expect, and reaching out to make a connection on their terms is truly wise. Everyone needs something, and while you may not be able to offer it to them, listening to someone’s needs and agreeing to hope with them is one of the most powerful things you can do.

The Hard Way

Today’s guest post is from Adam Pracht who has learned to love in some hard situations. His previous post on Tiny Love was our first guest post ever. So once again here’s Adam with more on love from the streets of Chicago. He currently works and lives in Chicago.

 Love is hard to explain, and the best way to describe it, in fact the only way to describe this particular love, is to tell stories of my brief encounters with it and see if you can derive its meaning for yourself.

Sitting on the front porch steps in the ghetto on the south side of Chicago, I was sharing a blunt with my close friend, both a tattoo artist and a brother to me. His very well to do, middle aged neighbor walked by with his 3 year old son. Assuming there would be a snide remark or, at the least, a complete lack of acknowledgement, I was surprised when he instead sat down and talked with us for quite some time. I played with his little boy and felt little pieces of love on the steps as we talked about the city, about the weather and the human condition and kids these days.

When conversing with someone you want to get to know better, there inevitably comes a point in the conversation where you transition from small talk and filler questions to something personal, sometimes deeply so, or a topic that you both care a great deal about. The shift is almost audible. To me it’s reminiscent of dropping something heavy and soft off the roof of a building, and your heart feels big as you begin to talk faster.

Sometimes a tricky, busted-up kind of love can be found near reservation, by holding back or abstaining from the actions of love. For instance, not kissing someone even though you’re dying to, or distancing yourself from someone because you should, not because you want to. Sometimes you can only catch this one in retrospect, but if you look really, really hard you can see a tiny love, standing free among your contained impulses.

Even the tiniest things can be love. Maybe it’s something that teaches you how to love just a little better. Rather than bestow love to you, maybe it helps your love come through a little clearer.