Kyrie Eleison

Tonight while coming home from the streets, I heard that classic song by “Mr. Mister” – Kyrie Eleison. I remember hearing this song when I was back in the US for a year of high school and being perplexed. My thoughts probably went a little something like this – “Carry a laser? Why would you need a laser? Is it like Star Wars? Dang, it’s cool this guy has a laser. I can’t believe he wrote a song about his laser, and how he always carries his laser down the road, through the darkness… almost like a really bright flashlight… I wish I had a laser… Tchiuchk, ptchiu (my laser sounds)…” I don’t remember when I actually found out that he was singing “Kyrie Eleison,” and that it actually meant “Lord, have mercy.” The things you miss out on not knowing ancient, Latinized Greek… But I digress.

Señor, ten piedad…

These past two weeks I’ve been suffering (with a quiet dignity only occasionally broken by spastic bouts of coughing) from a nasty throat cold combo. I think I was getting better until last Saturday. (This is where you ask, “Why Ben, what happened last Saturday?” I hem and haw a bit, and then mutter “I went for a run. In the mountains. In the rain. In the cold rain. For 4.5 miles or so.” Stupid Ben…)

Senhor, tende piedade de nós…

The first ten minutes or so were fun. It was mostly (OK, all) downhill, the rain kept things cool, I felt drops splashing on my face… Then it got cold. Of course, I could have stopped and hopped on the bus, but by that time I was already wet, and I didn’t want to give up halfway… I mean, c’mon! Thankfully, towards the end the rain stopped – it was too late, however, for my cough…

Seigneur, prend pitié…

The rain and cold have been frustrating – but exponentially so for our friends on the street. And while I have a love/hate relationship with the street, it swings much more towards the hate side when it’s cold and wet. I say good-bye to friends – shake hands, hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and slowly walk away. I know I’m going home – to a warm (kind of) shower, sweatshirts, blankets, socks, hot tea. And our friends make do with cardboard, old blankets, and shared body heat.

Doamne miluieşte…

Tonight we went to the bus station, which is a departure from our normal schedule. There I met many new kids, but was able to run into some old friends. Marquinhos was there, and Juliana, and Michel, and even Edna (who was one of the first girls we met almost four years ago, and I haven’t seen in ages… she was home for a while, but it wasn’t working out…) And again, there is the bittersweet. I am glad to see them, interact with them again, tell stories, laugh, and catch up. It is good to know they are still alive. But they are once again on the street – cold, hungry, high, searching for love and freedom and escape…

求主垂憐…

We were expecting a lower turnout this evening than usual because of an incident we recently heard about. Several months ago the local traffickers “liberated” a near-by “praçinha” (small parkish area) and allowed street kids (younger than usual – mostly pre-teen to early teenagers) to hang out there, use drugs, glue, and thinner, and even do some stealing there (as long as it didn’t get out of hand.) It got out of hand, so the traffickers stepped in to “fix” the problem.

Ya Rabb, urrham…

The rumor going through the favela is that the “bandidos” rounded up a number of the kids. Some they killed. Others were burned. Others were just threatened. Those that were left alive fled. And at the end of it all, the problem was “solved.”

Lord, have mercy…

As they come to mind, be praying for them. Kyrie Eleison – on each of these little ones – the least of these – the forgotten – the princes and princesses of the upside-down Kingdom.

Kyrie Eleison…

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Filed under daily life, favela, mercy, songs, streets, stupidity

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