Today was “paperwork day” as I like to call it. The day of the week where three of my children are at school and the littlest is at part-time daycare so I can soak in the quietness of an empty office. My anxious fingers click the keys as I push my way through new responsibilities, relishing in a world of multitasking across spreadsheets and email, phone calls and filing – stopping only for brief power pick-me-ups of writing a bit of a blog post here and checking a Facebook status there.
Truth is, I’m finding my groove again since coming back from Kenya.
But I’ve had a lot of questions from the masses. Everyone wants to know about the trip. As they should – I had a TON of great supporters and it was promised I’d write all the details. However, I’ve had a hard time wrapping myself around these two very different worlds. In all honesty, I never expected to come back from Kenya…angry.
I shed a lot of tears over there in private. Tears for poverty. Tears for oppression. Tears of happiness over these two American and Kenyan families who care so deeply for these girls and want to genuinely change lives.
I cried over a gift given by my Compassion child’s mother as she gave me a tender, tear filled smile. I cried at the desperate feeling in the pit of my stomach when I woke each day to the Islamic call to prayer.
I cried because I missed my family.
I even cried because I could eat the wheat over there with no apparent side effects. (I wish I was kidding…)
…but I never cried in public. And I never made sense of my anger until I returned home.
As a blogger, I’ve been taught from the beginning that overuse of words will whither my online space before it’s even had a chance to bloom. That I should convey as much of the story as I can in as few words as possible.
For Kenya, that’s tough. Because the way I’m processing this experience sounds an awful lot like internal rambling.
How does one convey internal rambling? Unless you have a better idea, external rambling is how I’d be inclined to answer. But let me see if I can sum it up in fewer words for you…
When I returned home it didn’t take long to catch up on Facebook with all of the world’s most controversial news. Oh, there were bits and pieces of hope, joy, redemption and new life, but most of what I read sent blood rushing to my cheeks. Violence and further oppression. “Christians” slandering everyone under the sun for some sin or another. I saw division among my own people, half applauding a woman as a hero for refusing a marriage license, half condemning her to shame.
I read more and more about people having to flee their homes or face an ISIS death.
And sometimes I just have to wonder if we really know what’s going on? Or do we latch onto the popular side of social media and raise our voices high enough to be heard over the rest of the noise?
If we don’t know the world we can’t love the world. If we don’t engage ourselves and stop being afraid to cross cultures – to grab the hands of a different color or hug the neck of someone with a different belief – how can we preach gospel, demonstrate love and make disciples?
I’ve read the story of the Good Samaritan several times over since I returned and do you now know what stands out to me the most? When the Samaritan has to leave the beaten man with the inn keeper he gives him coins to continue his care. But these words “Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
The Samaritan intended to return. He didn’t just drop coins off and say “see ya!” – he had every intention of coming back to make sure nothing else was needed. His intentions were to follow through.
Are we a nation of no follow-through? Could it be that we are attention seekers, at best, who like to throw money over the fence for our tax deductions and instant gratification? We send stained, second hand clothing that brings their textile industry to its knees and dig wells that we don’t teach them how to maintain and then we walk away – looking for another check to write as we sit back behind the screens of our computers shouting at one another in arguments that will never be won outside of His kingdom.
Sadly, we can all be about a deed well done without actually getting our hands dirty or seeking out a true resolution.
In all honesty, I’m still working through this. Africa taught me things about myself that I didn’t anticipate and I certainly can’t sum it up in a few posts even if I wanted to. It’s not my intent to spit nastiness all over the page and I promise you I’m not sitting here wallowing in self-pity or condemning us all to Hell.
And I’m not unhappy. I still get up each morning smiling, even when a 2 year old climbs into bed an hour prior to the alarm and spends that time kicking me in the kidneys. I throw on my clothes and make my kids breakfast. We figure out lunch together as I pack the healthiest things I can get them to eat and read the scripture of the day using my life as a testimony to whatever topic that might be. I plan dinner and open up the bills and heat some water for tea, praising God all the while for the thousand gifts that otherwise go unnoticed without a vested pair of eyes.
Yet I won’t lie. There are days I wake up thanking Him for exposing me to this. For finally letting my hands touch the dirt, my nose to smell the scents and my ears to hear the sounds of this unfamiliar place that captured my heart years ago. And other days I wake up and want to remove it all from my heart and mind because this new perspective is unfamiliar and, sometimes, disconcerting.
This fairy tale world we tend to walk around in is so easy to get lost in, isn’t it? The enemy wants to keep our minds at that address while he steals, kills and destroys the rest behind our distracted, naive backs.
It only takes one eager individual full of compassion to make a change. I encourage you, before you head into the rest of your plans for the day, to say these words to yourself:
“If I don’t like what I see, the change has to start with me.”
Linking up this week with: