Friday, February 6, 2009

Life's not Fair - A Month in Review

In Brief - State of the Sarah and the World:
    Food: Yummy. Even our American cooking! Fingers: Good, despite a car door attack. Feet: Rather liked by mosquitoes and blisters, but effectively walking. School: Learning. People: Loving. I'm not dead; on the contrary, I feel quite alive. All in all, I'm in tip top shape.
    Meanwhile, Israel stopped its military offensive in Gaza in time for Obama to become president of the USA, twice, and Gaddafi wants to make a new USA – the United States of Africa. Barbie's fifty years old and animal life is apparently millions of years older than people were saying last year.

State of the Sublime Sarah:
    Either my faith will stretch way farther than ever before, or it'll just pop. I'm kinda scared. What do I believe? Salvation and damnation, the Holy Spirit and prayer, love and hate, Christ himself. How do I live out what I believe? I don't quite know.
    Yet I find reassurance in a welcoming breeze and joy in the downpour of rain. I find peace in music, whether it be Underoath screaming out to the unfaithful and ungraceful and unloving that I will love you, India Arie saying she's got to get Back to the Middle, BEP asking Where's the Love, or Relient K rocking out about bipolar weather and grace. Or Father Abraham with twenty neighborhood kids who knew the end when we didn't.
    I find peace and comfort in these things, but I can't just stay there. I'm afraid if I try to share it I'll lose it. Yet I've found in Christ a person where the telos and praxis actually seem to meet - even if they don't meet yet in my own life. I've started to look in the mirror, and not just at the world. Though sometimes the world acts as my mirror.
    I've been having this trouble with reality, getting what I've always thought it was and what it actually is to meet. They don't. And so I'm trying to express that like I haven't really ever done before. Drawing writing singing dancing. I'm not super artsy. Yet these things have really anchored me this month. And in the art I'm able to better analyze this world around me. And I really like doing that.

State of the Mental Sarah (yeah, I'm mental!):
    History. Politics. Law. Different ways people have managed to live together without killing each other to extinction. Writing three of the truest sentences that I know. Defining what Africa's problem is and offering a solution. Hating myself for trying to do so. Hating myself for talking too little or too much during discussions about God and missions and sin. Laughing at myself for hating myself.

State of the Social Sarah:
    I don't like knowing that what I see in the mirror isn't what other people see when they look at me. And I can't make them meet. And I'm too off in my own world sometimes to notice. I love that one of the students is a constant mirror to me of what I can tend to be when I go too far in myself.  I love valued friends and talking passionately with them about politics and God or joking about boys and hair. Staying in touch with friends back home, missing them, loving them. My Ugandan family, I love discovering new things about them every day: sharp senses of humor, humble spirits, loud laughs and quiet smiles. Playing BS with my siblings and giving my sister backrubs and pestering my sister-cousin to teach me how to dance and making her laugh.
    My family back home. I love being able to say that I'm related to them. I love them. I love loving them. I'm so proud of them. I love knowing them better than when I left and so loving them all the more. I love them all.

Bezels to ponder
    Every day when I walk home I hold at least two dozen dirty little hands. Then I go home and love on the dirty little kitten with a broken paw. The kitten, my sister says, will maybe die. I think the similarities stop there, but I feel just as helpless. Not that I want to save them, but I want to see them as they are. Because they are not just dirty little helpless kids. They have names that I can't pronounce and families and futures. And I want to see that. But it's hard to see.
    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.- James Baldwin, writer and civil rights leader.
    But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
    My friend's shirt reads "War is costly" on one side, and "Peace is priceless" on the other. It's true. But people value what they can make money off of selling.
    In Jinja, a young American man talks in Basogan fluently and jokes and laughs with men making metal trunks. He connects with them, and cares, but is still able to step out of it afterwards, without losing that care. Or, at least, that's how it seemed.
    When we join the dots between art and poverty, it helps breathe life into the poorest communities, restoring hope and igniting justice. This music has literally saved lives, and again I feel happy to be alive. – Martin Smith, Sojourners blog writer (1/29/09)
    After reading an article on the theology of missions that said the proof of the universality of the gospel of Christ is in missions. But, if the proof is in the pudding, then why does it sometimes taste so badly?
    Will they ever make a Grannie Barbie? I mean, honestly.
    " 'All men choose either compassion or…chatter…Those who have lost the capacity for listening, who cannot be there for others, are unable even to be truly present to themselves…'Compassion'…sums up the listening, responsive, agonizing receptivity of the prophet and the poet." – John Taylor, The Primal Vision
    When I was in Kampala sitting in the sun at the hip hop Hot Steps competition, I saw this funny bug flying around. Something was wrong with it, it's body was turned wrong, but it made me so happy though because it was shaped a little like a music note. That little bug just about made my day.

But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair – Relient K, Be My Escape

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