Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a heavier weight...

i need a glass of wine....i have a mind is heart huts...and i feel sick.

today this article was sent out in the office (it is about a 15 year old girl who was gang raped for 2 hours outside her school dance while nearly 20 bystanders stood by and did nothing). i read it at my computer and i immediately felt overwhelmed, teary, mad. with each sentence my heart broke and questions arose. granted, working for a human rights group i hear horror stories all the time, but there are moments that i am just flat overwhelmed. today is one of them. as i read the article swear words came under my breath and i just wanted to hit something (great for my non-violence stance :)). questions just fly in one after another....

HOW CAN THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN? how often do things like this in our world happen? would i be a bystander and not intervene in injustice if i were to stumble upon it on the street? do i stumble on injustices now that i am just a bystander? HOW CAN WE BE SO FAR OFF????? how did we get here? am i making a difference? what do we do? is it possible to end this? God, where are you? HOW DO WE END THIS????

the hows and whys become unbearable.

in the middle of all of this i am haunted by this simple reality... i am attached to this humanity! it is the same spectrum that mother theresa, mlk, my son, my friends, my family sit. it is all the same humanity! the potential for both horror and splendor in my neighbor and in me. i am in the mess. i am a part of the mess.

there is a quote by cs lewis that i have always loved. its meaning has morphed and changed over the years. it is shifting into a deeper meaning. i think of it today. in light of all this. the weight of glory, the angst for His kingdom, the yearning for redemption is strong in my heart i remember what lewis once said:
"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses."
cs lewis, weight of glory
i am left undone today. the stakes feel high and the task even more impossible. and all i know how to do is continue to pray, maybe today with more desperation...jesus, come....i pray. in me, in this city, in the broken, in the abused, in the oppressed and the this world. your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Friday, October 16, 2009

...a new bedtime ritual

my son is into this new bedtime ritual.

we read a book, sing a song, pray. then one by one we say good night to all the stuffed animals in his crib. (good night elmo, ni-ni larry, good night monkey, ni-ni mr bear...) then i end with a ni-ni judah and a couple of good "i love you more than i ever thought possible" kisses...

that has always been the routine...

and now this new piece has emerged... as i walk out the room i hear this "one more kiss mommy" and with out fail, i walk back in the room give that little man one more "i love you more than i ever thought possible" kiss and close the door.

i hope that exchange sticks around for awhile...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thanks to Fairmont, MN...the middle of nowhere!

So I’m in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. It is cold! I’m staying by myself at a little Hampton Inn. I walked across the street last night to grab a bite to eat. I had to choose between McDonalds, Perkins and Green Mill. I choose Green Mill (I’ve never heard of it before but it is big in these parts…Just a restaurant/bar place like Chili’s).

I walked in and the place was pack with MN Twins fans cheering and cursing during the Twins/Yankees game. I sat at the bar, ordered a local-ish brew (some brew from Wisconsin) and a bite to eat. I watched the game.

I don’t watch baseball. I don’t like to watch baseball. A few years ago I got on the bandwagon when the Rockies went to the World Series (will be on the wagon again this year J) and I don’t mind going to games because it usually means 3 things: friends, hot dogs and a cold beer. But that is it! I don’t watch baseball!

I watched baseball last night, next to a few new friends from the middle of nowhere MN. I sat next to two best friends who have known each other since college. We chatted. They could tell I wasn’t from around here and asked what brought me here. I told them I was here for work, what I did (working for an anti-slavery organization isn’t generally good dinner/bar conversation). They asked questions. The engaged the issue a bit (of course in between huge cheers and four letter yelps). I asked them what they were up to this weekend. DUCK HUNTING, they told me. I joked with them telling them I had only hunted ducks with Nintendo way back when, but that I was a good shoot! We laughed. It was nice…

Our conversation ended and the two friends just continued to chat. I watched the screen but continued to eves drop on their conversation. They talked about 3 things: baseball, duck hunting and life. For the most part it was classic bar talk. Swear words. Making fun of each other. I smiled.

In the middle of this conversation an amazing moment took place. One of the guys looked to his friend and said “They found a heartbeat. It is amazing! They finally found a heartbeat.”

His friend looked at him with a huge grin that communicated more than ANY words could and said, “F@$% yeah. They did. You must be ecstatic. After everything you have been through. It is amazing. They found a heartbeat!”

He looked up and just said, “yeah. We are so f@$%ing excited!”

That was the end of the conversation…they went back to watching the game.

I sat at the bar and just felt good. I haven’t spent much time in small town USA. I grew up in the burbs, but it wasn’t a small town like this. I think in a lot of ways I maybe judge the level of engagement in places like this. Thinking the simplicity isn’t as good as complexity. Or a laid-back spirit isn’t as good as the go-getter change the world thing in me. I am so wrong.

In that moment I found myself noticing the little things in my life. The details, the simplicity, the small miracles I miss every day… the heartbeat of a little baby in his mother’s womb (my son is a miracle)…the miracle of breath and life (we breathe in and out something we can’t see yet that is the very thing that sustains us)

…of ducks that swim and fly (birds are built to defy the laws of gravity!! That is just crazy when you think about it)

...of the food we eat and how it actually grows (any time I look across a field of corn, or crops, I am amazed! I mean seriously, things grow out of the dirt with water and sun. We can put big words on it that make us feel like we understand it all, like photosynthesis, but it is still a miracle it actually happens!)

…and the one I often miss the most is the miracle of friends, family and love (yes there is a WHOLE LOT that is wrong in the world. We hurt each other…YET we love each other too. It is a miracle that we actually have each other. We depend on others for our species to literally survive. REALATIONSHIP itself is a miracle.)

Thanks Fairmont, MN for reminding me of the simple truths and miracles that this life contain… Jesus, would you give me eyes to see them all again today!