“I am less interested in “What” your first words will be, and more interested in “who” those words will be for!!”
(Bridget’s comment to Canadian Radio talk show host Drew Marshall, on the eve of the last days of a three month vow of silence he observed while walking the Camino De Santiago Fall of 2016.)
I visited with a Malian family on the way home from the bush today. They live in a small village about thirty kilometers from Sikasso, and since I drive by there to one of my remote villages, whenever possible I take advantage of the opportunity to visit with them on the return trip. I had a red beard on my face the last couple months.
However, I arrived with a clean shaved face today.
They seated me, and asked the news. Then Pierre Culibally’s wife started acting up.
“I bet you anything his wife is arriving soon. That is why he shaved his beard off.”
(The wife said to Pierre in Bambara)
Pierre Coulibally began to laugh. So I asked what was so funny. Pierre translated what his wife had just said, and then asked me if it was true that my wife is arriving soon?
I affirmed that my wife is indeed arriving in two days, and that I shaved the beard off for her, because she does not like my beard. Pierre repeated this back to his wife in Bambara and she was nearly rolling on the ground laughing, saying, “See, I knew it. I knew it!”
Your wife had it all figured out!” I commented
“We do amazing things for love,” I interjected, in between giggles and leg slapping
I laughed too.
So the whole court was in an uproar over my “Baby Face” because they knew it was for my babe.
I started my motorcycle, and as I pulled out, I said
“I am going back to town now, so that I can shave once more before I go to get Lynn.”
You could hear them all screeching, and laughing as I pulled away.
The beard tan line left behind is something else too.
Shaving a beard is one hell of a small way to say, “You are precious to me.”
“What is love? Love is to reveal to someone: “you are beautiful and you have value.” That is the secret of love. It’s not primarily to do things for people, because then we find our glory in doing things. The secret of love is to reveal to someone that “you are precious,” that “you are beautiful.”
Jean Vanier. Founder of L’Arche Communities.