Jun 12 3 Comments

When do I hear my neighbor sing?

Book Cover sizedI have been working on translating my book, Picking Flowers on Dusty Roads, into Norwegian. It is a long, and boring task.

Since I am in the mood of the book, I have decided to share a few paragraphs here. Perhaps you will like it and want to get the whole book. Nothing would please me more!

mother and children

“It’s no secret that we in the West are masters at spending our lives running for the wrong reasons. We’ve entangled ourselves in a net of expectations and commitments that’t harder for us to get out of than it is for a fly to get out of the spider’s web. We all know that we need to stop before the spider eats us alive—sucking all the juices out of us until we’re dead.”

“I was sitting in a Karen village watching life unfold. I was an outsider and was able to observe without really taking part. The challenges of survival were more complex and involved than I probably understood. Only a few kilometers away the Burma Army loomed, carrying with them the threat of death. Minutes earlier I had talked to a villager who had shared the burden of not having enough to eat and not knowing if they’d survive the year with so little rice. The children were poorly dressed, and many had runny noses and coughs. And yet I saw joy and heard laughter. I felt a sense of peace that maybe was divine.

I always heard singing and it came from everywhere. Not exactly Elf-like, but honest and unpretentious songs that I imagined were about love and bravery. Men who were working the fields or walking through the jungle, women who were doing the laundry by the river, or carrying their babies up the hills, and children who were just running about, being kids, sang. I have never heard as much singing as I have in the presence of the Karen. I wondered, When did I last hear my neighbor sing, or my colleagues as they came to work on Monday morning? We have a reason to belt it out. We live in a free country, we have pantries full of food, microwaves, and walk-in closets, but the song coming from us often lack tunes.

On this evening I heard the singing coming from simple huts on the hills while I stood outside watching the myriads of stars dancing on the dark sky. There were no other sounds than the sounds of the jungle and the little piggy-snores coming from three piglets that were huddling together in a ditch in front of one of the houses.”

If you want to read more, you will have to get the book. You can do that here. If you rather buy it on Amazon, it is available there as well. Here is the link.


  • Rick says:

    Thanks for sharing!
    Reminded me to buy myself a copy – which I just did!!

  • Jerry Nelson says:

    Hi Oddy,

    I will definitely buy the book. However, as I told Steve the night we met the print is too small for my old eyes. I’m holding out for a 2nd printing or a Kindle version. If that doesn’t happen I’ll likely buy a copy anyway.

    Abundant Blessings,

    Jerry Nelson