Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Mk 10:28
What is the What is a book which tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. It begins in Atlanta, Ga., where thieves have broken into Valentino’s apartment to rob him. They tie him to a chair and leave a child to watch over him. Valentino has an imaginary conversation with the child guard. Thought his conversation, he explains how he got to the United States and everything he left behind.
When Valentino was a boy, soldiers raided his quiet little village and killed his family. He escaped the attack by hiding in a bag of grain. He joins a group of orphan boys, who end up walking hundreds of miles in search of safety. During the trek, they hide from patrols who want to force them to become boy soldiers. Some boys get attacked by lions hiding in the tall grass.
The journey takes the boys from the Sudan to Ethiopia to Kenya. In one refugee camp, soldiers enter and fire upon the children. Once again, they leave everything in search of safety. Eventually, he ends up in the United States, but it has its own expressions of violence. As Valentino concludes his imaginary conversation with the boy, the reader begins to realize what it means to truly leave everything behind.
Peter was thinking of the family and career he left behind. At this point of the story, his sacrifice has not even begun. His words remind me of working for room, board and a small stipend at Koinonia, a camp in New York. At the time, it felt like we had left everything behind. Yet, our sacrifice was not much of a sacrifice compared to Valentino’s. Actually, it was a source of great joy.
This morning, the reading made me think of the things in my life I refuse to leave behind. The things which actually prevent me from experiencing the fullness of life. Maybe there is something like that in your life, as well. Something if you let go of would make you feel more free. Look within yourself and ask, what needs to go? Then turn it into a prayer.
Click to read: Mark 10: 28-31
- When have you sacrificed something and found joy as a result of the sacrifice?
- Search your heart, what are you being asked to leave behind for the sake of the Good News?
- What prevents you from leaving it behind? Can it make you more free?
- How can you talk to the Lord about it?
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