(A Reverse Safari?)
“I told my Mama on the day that I was born, ‘Don’t you cry when you see that I’m gone!”
That line inspired me, not only because it evoked typical emotions of the times. It metaphorically stoked my imagination. Sung by Barry McGuire of the New Christy Minstrels, the song, “Green, Green” remains a favorite of mine. Mom, though long since departed for greener pastures, probably still worries about my looking for greener pastures, right here on earth.
More recently, another line inspired me, perhaps for similar reasons. Perhaps wanderlust continues to transfix my imagination. Or, maybe the metaphor never grew too old, in my mind.
John Denver sang, “He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before. Left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again. Might say he found the key to every door.”
Later in the song, Denver sang, “Tho’ he’d be a poorer man, if he never saw an eagle fly!”
People tell me that John Denver wrote that song about himself. I agree. He also wrote it about me. He also wrote it about quite a number of other folk. Maybe you!
What about you? Would you be a poorer man (woman), if you never saw an eagle fly?
* * * * *
I was born in the summer of my 67th year. Came home to a place I’d never been before. That was Tanzania. Yeah, I’d been there once before. It just whetted my appetite. Maybe I just wanted to go home, again.
* * * * *
Today, our church sends teams of mission-oriented individuals to Tanzania yearly or bi-yearly. Each missioner ends up being, as you might say, born again.
An awesome experience. One that few people ever forget. Meet wonderful folk from the launching pad to safaris. Visit missions. Hand out milky cows and goats to needy individuals. Meet students who they might have sponsored through school. Born again? You might say! A poorer man (woman) if he/she never saw a cheetah pounce? Absolutely!
Ironically, the people who introduce them to their new life, or new wildlife experience, never or seldom can say, “I was born in the summer of my x7th year!” About every Tanzanian I’ve met, excepting Pastor Abel, cannot say, “I was born in the summer of my x7th year!” Every one finds himself trapped in a cycle of poor sustenance and limited economic opportunity.
* * * * *
A year ago, I took the opportunity to enable Lota to visit Colorado. A reverse safari, you might say.
He might say that he’d be a poorer man, had he never seen a Colorado eagle fly. Or never seen a Colorado River cut throat jump a fly! (Cut throat is a kind of trout that fly fishermen love to catch with a fly rod and an artificial fly on the end of a fly rod line.)
I think a couple best friends (Margie and Felix Cook) got jealous! Just learned a couple days ago that Lota will visit Colorado again for about 3 weeks. Says he’s coming to see Frank and me, again. Frank tells me that he’s a short-timer. So, it might be the last time that Lota and Frank hook up. Best friends, you know!
Call it a reverse safari for Lota. Says it changed his life, after his return home last October. Chances are good, it will change it even more, after this new 3-week Colorado safari.
It changed my life, too! Although visiting Tanzania brings me “home” again, bringing someone from Tanzania to Colorado for a life-changing eagle-soaring or cut throat jumping safari pretty much matches my Tanzania safari experiences. In fact, I’d have to say, watching someone be born again, visiting Colorado, exceeds the experience of seeing a cheetah pounce. Much like seeing a child or grand child graduate or cross some stage in life and grab recognition for an accomplishment enabled through parental guidance.
* * * * *
When I returned to Colorado, I envisioned sending teams of Colorado “disciples” to Tanzania to match up with peers and exchange stories of spiritual and experiential growth. Now, I just wonder if any one might be interested in sponsoring a reverse safari. I wonder if any Colorado or other American reader of this crazy idea, might be interested in buying the plane ticket for a deserving Tanzania native to visit Colorado. To be born again. To see a Colorado golden eagle fly. Or, to see a Colorado River cut throat or rainbow trout jump a fly.
If you are an American and find yourself intrigued by this crazy idea, let me know. I can probably help you pull off the re-birth of a Tanzania Christian. Colorado might not be the heaven that Christ talks about being born into. But, it might come pretty close.
As Barry sings, “A green, green valley or a rocky road, that’s where [he might] make [his] bed!”
Perhaps you might pick up some jealousy watching Lota experience Colorado all over again, over the next few weeks. Maybe, like a parent guiding a child or grand child to a stage of accomplishment, you might jump the fly of providing a reverse safari. Perhaps you might find a rainbow tug the end of an easily cast fly on a fly line cast from downstream Colorado.
Have you ever been born again?
Care to see someone else, born again?
June 1, 2019