Village life forces us to live in community. Stepping out our door, someone sees what we do, asks what we have been doing, shouts a piece of advice on what we should be doing, and passes all this information along to the next house. Communal knowledge of our daily routine also extends to what goes on inside our home. The whole village can hear our boys running on our wooden floors, and, with a house on stilts three meters in the air, the human voice does tend to carry. Recently, a friend warned of our responsibility to go house to house reassuring each neighbor following any evening fights between my husband and I. We now continuously practice the fine art of the whisper as a family.
Conversing with women I am growing to love more and more every day, community becomes both an intrusion upon my individualistic sensibilities and a joy I have yet to fully appreciate.
"I heard your daughter, Kolap, crying so hard today. I was so worried I almost came over to pray with incense again." one grandmother commented.
"I heard your Mallis cry this morning, too. She sounds so cute when she cries." Grandmother's daughter adds.
"Your baby never cries in the night. White babies are so different than Cambodian babies."
Surprised they have managed to discern my children's cries in a matter of days, I quickly explain away my daughters' tears (or lack thereof) citing the bicycle accident, sibling scuffle, and scheduled feedings. Satisfied, the conversation moved to other topics. I, however, remain captivated.
Love and concern for their neighbor drives each person in this community to know even the cries of the littlest child.
The beauty of this realization delights my heart, especially when I consider the littlest child in the village is my own.
With great excitement, I look forward to a conversation the Holy Spirit prompts on the topic of the Lord's village, His precious church who loves and cares for each other through His love and because of His love, a global village that will one day live in community with the Father Himself who will dry every tear from every eye. Songs of praise will replace our cries, and we pray voices from those around us will someday be part of the chorus.