Sometimes I'm not sure what to write on my blog because it all seems like it doesn't really matter in light of the stuff that people are going through right now. I could write about marriage, but this week I heard that a friend's husband left her. I could write about my sweet daughter loving her first swing ride, but another friend is in the middle of searching for a diagnosis for her baby girl's weak arms and legs. Too many people we know are losing spouses and parents to cancer. And the widows and children fleeing Syr-ia are on my mind.
I want to be part of a community, of family and friends and even a global community, which grieves with each other when things are wrong. (and so so very many things are wrong). And yet I have such beauty in my life daily, such joy in my children and husband and my friendships here and around the world. I don't know how to ache with those who ache without counting the joy in my life as selfish and unimportant.
In college I was part of a group called 'Students for Justice in the Middle East' - we organized speakers to come and stir things up on campus, we participated in peaceful campaigns to raise awareness about what was happening on the ground in Palestine and Iraq. I remember having a meeting in the spring of 2003 - we were talking about the impending invasion of Iraq by our country, organizing prayer and fasting in hope that the tide would change quickly, that no more blood would be spilled. It was a heavy meeting and Beth was crying. She was engaged to marry a boy that she loved and she was so happy. And that joy brought such a guilt, she couldn't find the place for it in the shadows of such imminent destruction. My wise professor said to her, "Beth, the women in Iraq would want for you to be happy. They would want you to celebrate, to be married."
My heart doesn't find it difficult to be stretched by pain, to share in other people's sorrow. But it does find it difficult to admit the beautiful and confess the good in my own life when others are suffering. Maybe it's survivor's guilt still hanging around, maybe it's shame from being so privileged economically - but I know it's not how I'm meant to be.
I want to weep with those who weep and mourn.
I want to celebrate with those are laughing, especially with my (almost) two year old.
I want to wait with those in the darkness when the light hasn't come.
I want to throw off guilt for what I have and use that energy and resource to be a blessing to others.
|miriam teaching me survival skills|
I sat next to Miriam as our campfire slowly burned itself down under the insanely starry Sudanese night sky. She told stories of her life in a Ugandan refugee camp for twenty years, of the Lord's Resistance Army terrorizing and destabilizing, of having to run and hide in the bush for her life before her daughters had made it home from school that day, of tying her baby on her back and grabbing a bag of rice to carry on her head. While she spoke her scars aloud she gently ran her fingers through my privileged, educated, rich, white hair. Her touch was so loving and sincere that I knew - somehow God's heart is big enough for it all.
come be You in our weakness
come be You in our grief
come be You in our celebrations
come be You when we bleed
come be You in our expectancy.