Dominican Man and Daughter, Photo © 2003, by Robbie Pruitt
The Old Dominican
“I have to work hard. Words will not put food on my table.”
– Dominican Man
we are poor,
men of God
men of character
men of simplicity,
living a straightforward life
men of good humor and joy
men with a strong sense of family
men of sensibility
men with hospitality
like rich black coffee
© 2003, Robbie Pruitt
Men Strong Like Rich Black Coffee
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!”
I was on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in January 2003. This was a trip that forever changed my thinking and outlook on life and the world.
My dad was never around when I was growing up because my parents were divorced. I was never lacking a meal or a material need or want however, because my mom lavished us with everything imaginable and worked hard and gave us everything that a typical youth in North America could ever need, want, or dream of, but she could not give me a sense of manhood. That was my dad’s job. My grandfather filled in pretty well, but deep down, I know that this was not the same. Something was always missing.
In the Dominican Republic we were hiking from the village of Boma where we were staying and were crossing a river to visit a family who lived in a small shanty with a dirt floor. As we crossed, an old Dominican man and his son were crossing the river on an old mangy horse to go to work together in a field somewhere. Our guide asked the man, in Spanish, if he was “working hard today.” He replied, as I found out later when I asked, “I have to work hard. Words will not put food on my table.”
These Dominican men had nothing; rather, nothing as we might interpret having something. I had belongings of more value in my backpack, which my mom had given me for Christmas, than these simple people had with their entire net worth, as it pertains to money. At my core, I knew that these men were richer than I would ever be. These men had a sense of family, they had hospitality, and they had a connection with their surroundings and with the rhythms of life. When you would visit these families it was customary for them to serve rich black coffee with sugar and spend time with them under a shade tree talking and laughing. They understood that people mattered and actions counted. Hospitality and relationships and good hard work were customary. These men were there for their family, and when the “going got tough,” the bond between them got tighter. These men knew what it meant to live richly and I knew that I could learn a lot from them about what it means to be a man.
Desiring to be conformed into the Father's image,
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Ro 8:15-17