Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Half the Sky

I just finished reading Half the Sky, written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which had been suggested to me by my sister. Somehow she had heard of the book, read it, and then told me I'd love it. For some reason, I was dubious. Not sure why, but I was. Probably that little sister in me coming out that was as stubborn as all get out and never wanted to admit I actually liked something my sister did. Anyway, I finally put myself aside as I was searching for my next book and walked to the library one day to find this one. I'm not disappointed I read it. In fact, I would highly suggest it to people. In a surprisingly palatable manner the authors (who are husband and wife) present stories, statistics and research results on the crisis of women's oppression around the world. Ranging in topics from genital cutting to brothels in Thailand, the book exposes hideous truths about what women are suffering, but also rejoices and applauds the manner in which females are rising above such atrocities in order to create change. The book had me angry, frustrated, in tears, saddened and excited, seemingly all at once. It also caused me to beg the question, "what can I do?"
I probably am not alone in this inner questioning that seems to occur whenever I hear or witness injustice. The problem seems too big, too intricate, too convoluted for me to address. I used to be satisfied to remain ignorant, but that is ineffectual and, honestly, selfish. As the last few years have passed I have attempted to educate myself on whatever social injustices are occurring and pray through them. You see, I want to make a difference. I must be young enough and possibly naive enough to think that my life can have an impact on others, and I want to make sure that it does in the most dynamic way possible. Though the problems seem insurmountable, I want to try anyway. But I seem to get stuck on 'how.' I am willing, able and ready, but where, how and who? It is something I am in constant prayer about. Its a hard place to be, this waiting place. I don't like it, if I can be honest. I don't just want to tear up when I hear about young girls being raped by militiamen in East Africa, I want to help stop their abuse. I don't want to just shake my head in disbelief at the incredible amount of orphaned children after natural disasters like the earth quake in Haiti or the floods in Pakistan, I want to provide food, shelter, clothing and education for them. To show them that Jesus loves them. I keep getting stopped up though, quietly wondering what that looks like for me and my husband. And its like a fire that is burning in my bones and I can't hold it in, like Jeremiah says. I pray an answer comes soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Miles to Go

I am continually challenged and humbled at where I find myself. I have acted out of selfishness, pain and insecurity towards the people who love me the most, and I have neglected obedience in order to remain comfortable. I have avoided certain thoughts in order to hold on to illusions, and have traded invaluable things for the temporary. It is halting to realize these things. Often I'm disgusted by them, stomach turning as memories flood back, and my knees get weak. They weaken to the point that I find myself kneeling. A perfect posture to be in. Vulnerable, humbled, repentant. And its there that I am reminded of grace. The whispers are spoken to my heart about the worth that He placed on my life despite myself, and what that translates to in my day to day. I am reassured of direction and reminded that I have miles to go, and that is completely ok. I'm told to not focus on the destination but enjoy the journey, investing in community wherever I can. Let no life go unnoticed, none is insignificant. Open up and demonstrate heart.
I am so thankful for grace.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Number 23

On Saturday, the 16th, Landon finally received his birthday present and I completed number 23 on my 25 before 25 list. We traveled to just outside Amboy, WA, and bungee jumped off an old logging bridge. We jumped twice each, with me going first and screaming my lungs out. It was brilliant and wonderful, and the most terrifying thing I've ever done, all at once! We really enjoyed ourselves and as we left Landon told me it was the best birthday gift thus far. That made all the screaming and body shakes worth it. (Below is my second jump).
We survived and got these sweet T-shirts too!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Little Things

I used to pick up little things, unzip the Easter purse on my hip, and rapidly stuff them inside, so as to protect and keep them from getting lost after I just found them. The purse was a long shoulder strapped baby blue vinyl thing, that someone gave me as part of an Easter outfit one year. I must have been only three at the time, but able to walk, bend and grasp interesting treasures I'd find at Grandma's house, in our kitchen or in the aisle at the grocery store, and hide them away until a later time. I'm told stories of how I would empty the robin egg satchel every so often to display my 'pretties,' as my Grandma Jean called them. A dime I got from Dad, a not-sticky-anymore shiny star from Sunday school class, a unique button from Grandma's sewing room. The treasures would tumble out and I would promptly categorize and explain each one with great care and great detail, admiring the small object as if it were my most prized jewel. And as I was just looking at a friend's blog and scrolled through the conglomeration of photos, quotes, videos and suggested readings, I recognized a part of myself. I don't think that whoever gave me the purse realized they gave place in my life for me to collect 'little things.' Though I have traded marbles, buttons and shiny paper for more 'grown-up' things like photos, quotes and transcontinental earrings, I still find myself drawn to any small memorabilia which can invoke a story or memory in an instant, or just may look appealing to my eye.
Amazed at how some things never change...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Question Answered Through Writing This

Scatter brained and frustrated I attempt to capture feelings, thoughts, and experiences in words. Periodically this is impossible, and I crave another outlet. I long to express/vent/let go of all the things that fill up my brain space. Prayer helps. Jesus helps. He is the answer to it all, honestly. That is not a religious, over-spiritual statement. It is truth, and has proven true in my life time and again. I still try to express the questions. Maybe just to present them. Maybe because if I do I feel more human, as if I am not numb and just accepting of 'the way it is.' Indifference has been my most feared reality for some time. I want to know that it hurts to feel. I want no anesthetic when it comes to suffering, pain, death, war, disease, loss. It opens me up to discomfort, and yet that is much more welcomed in my life that ignorance.
Tonight I attempted to capture this all. The pictures and words represent what has occupied and caused feeling recently.
Hezbollah: a Shi'a Islamist political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon. It is a major provider of social services, operating schools, hospitals, and agricultural services for thousands of Lebanese Shi'a, and plays a significant role in Lebanese politics. It's considered a resistance movement in much of the Arab and Muslim world. A lot of countries have condemned it's actions, though Syria and Iran have been mostly supportive. Whether it is a terrorist organization or not depends on who you're speaking to. My sister is in Lebanon and there are some tensions surrounding actions of Hezbollah, as well as a visit from the Iranian president. Its unnerving and causes me to pray. A lot. Pakistan: wondering at how the population are coping with continued lack of resources after the floods. Realizing I have no reference for that kind of need. Taliban stoning: that still happens? Afghani girl: she was 14. U.S. Marines fighting insurgents and she gets killed. Her father's question: "Now what should I do with 'sorry'?" reminds me of people in Northern Uganda, forever maimed, disabled and debilitated due to 'cross-fire' during the conflict. Gypsy girl: displaced by the French government 'cracking down' on gypsies. Begs the question: why are we, as humans, so territorial. Habakkuk 3.2: Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day... Echoed: Be still. Wait. Rest. Psalm 46.10: Be still and know that I am God...
The last part, the echo in my soul, Psalm 46.10, is all that I really need to focus on in this whole display. "Rely, lean, rest on Me."