Twenty-six years ago yesterday, my daughter Allison was born. At that time our family was part of a small intentional community in Northwest Pasadena, California. Our community lived in a large 80-some year old Victorian house. We shared space, meals, chores, joys, and sorrows. Many of us intended to live and minister overseas and we knew that one of our most difficult challenges was going to be getting along with our colleagues. The purpose of our community was to learn how to live and communicate while living in a relationally intense situation.
Allison is a lovely and lovable adult, but she was a challenging baby. There were days when we were both at the end of our ropes.
Fortunately, at that time we had an young African man living in our community house. Otu was the oldest of a large family and he knew how to care for a discontented baby. When Allison was inconsolable by Nancy and me, Otu would take over. He held her over his head, her tummy in his large palm as he rocked her and repeatedly sang in his native language, “Ki ki kaa di. Ki ki kaa di.” That never failed to calm her.
One of the benefits of living in community is the availability of skills, knowledge, and giftings of the members. To this day I am grateful for Otu and the rest of the people who helped our family get started.