Easter Story: Charles The Seminarian, My Good Samaritan
Easter is here once again and I feel all gooey inside. Easter remains my favorite Christian holiday as unlike Christmas, the symbolism of the occasion remains palpable, less blemished by commercialization. For my family, our nuclear setup, this Christian holiday is an intimate moment. We try and make it to be about the kids, my husband and I. For us, this makes Pasaka different from Christmas – when the joy of an extended setup, up in our rural home, can at times be suffocating.
In my part of the world, Easter falls just at the beginning of the rainy season. Precisely at the moment when the green starts to appear in the fields. When lawns are perfect and flowers color the garden.
The Mellow Glow of Easter
Easter in Eastern Africa is a season as revitalizing as spring. The beginning of the long rains season blunts the harshness of four months of the preceding long dry one.
In the wild, I imagine, the animals dance. Or are the very least, that the parks are full with new life. As it is around the Easter season, when the less tourist friendly mini wildlife migration at the Nairobi National Park is just about. It is now when we begin to trace the first signs of the world famous wildebeest migration in the Mara- Serengeti ecosystem.
With this visible renewal of mother earth, it’s almost as if the earth is communicating the symbolism of Easter to believers: that Christ died and rose again to give us new life. Still, unlike Christmas, which in contemporary life has come to symbolize a period of giving, the spirit of Easter remains elusive.
For most caught up in the pace of life in the 21st century, Easter is nothing but a deserved break from the mill. A timely period to recharge batteries at best, but mostly a time to numb the sneaking feeling that the year is quarter way through and there is nothing to show for our New Year’s resolutions.
I tell this story of a good Samaritan, seminarian Charles of the Eldoret Diocese of the Catholic church in Kenya, so as to spread some Easter cheer. My story is not an Easter story in the strict sense as it’s not about Passover or an Easter miracle.
Nonetheless, that this moment came down now, only serves to proclaim the renewal brought about by this period. Christmas and New Year were here, we made merry, breathed afresh but the bustle of it all, I suppose, did not allow me to reflect on the kind heart of this young man.
A Easter Story
That April was a difficult one: work, family, personal development you name it. Looking back, it must have been those moments that life forces on us. So that we can stop and cajoles one into a reboot of sorts. My normal fixes had ceased with their magic. When my ultimate, solver of all problems, walking, failed to unblock the rut, I went out in search of answers.
Literally so. I picked the car keys and let wanderlust take over me. I had plans to drive to one of the smaller satellite towns around my city. Take in the countryside as I figured what I was going to do once I got there. Not that I was short of ideas as the basic aim was to chat up a local. This lifehack always delivered the goods. Sometimes all we need is different view to open up new realities within and around us that we so often are blind to.
There many ways to gain a new perspective on the tapestry that is life. You could take a matatu, then ensure to seat next to the driver. Those chaps have a way they watch as life ebbs by. That should be interesting! You could chat it up with the shoe shiner. Life is something else looking up from down, cleaning dirt off people’s shoes. Or you could go to church.
Good Friday Mass
And that’s what I did. It wasn’t the plan, but breaking free often is never about fidelity to plans. I was brought up Catholic, I still say the rosary, but it had been years since I had been to the cathedral. Let alone attend the way of the cross every Friday of the Lenten campaign season or Good Friday mass.
There is nothing to write about the way of the cross and the holy mass after. This story is not what this story is about. What I want you to know is that I lost my clutch bag somewhere between the praying, rituals and chanting. It took me a whole day to realize that I had lost my clutch bag – that’s how out of sorts I was – and with it everything: National Identity Card, ATMs, the whole shebang.
The nun at the ‘lost and found’ was polite, but she couldn’t help. Life went on. Until the last breaths of May when riding in the car with my husband, he receives a call from a strange number.
The caller wants to know if he knew of a somebody going by my names who might have lost their documents blah blah! We find our way to the cathedral and meet fine upstanding young man. He hands over everything. Explains how he had battled with an ethical dilemma and chose to wait it out a bit longer hoping that we would come forth.
The ethical dilemma? How to find me. Alongside the lost documents, among the contents of my clutch bag was a flash drive. Charles the seminarian had wished to respect my privacy, but a month down the line, that had yielded little.
He had even done a Facebook search, but my names aren’t unique. Besides, he had trouble matching the flyness we often put on show on our Facebook profile images and the pathetic mugshots on our IDs.
So Charles accessed the flash drive and found a solitary document: a letter of expression of interest that my entrepreneur husband had made to an organization. As per norm, the letter had his contact details.
It’s been a year. I would have had to looking a police abstract and such. Any Kenyan knows what that is like. Its another Easter, almost a year since this Good Samaritan saved me.