Posts tagged ‘God’

August 18, 2010

Adversity Wrapped in Hope

The past few days, we had some pretty atrocious weather here in Chillán. At night, I would lay in bed bundled up in my sleeping bag and with the wind howling at the window beside me and the rain rattling the roof above me, I found myself thinking about the families, who lost their homes in the earthquake and now live in temporary shelters, referred to by Chileans as “mediaguas.” I thought about my complaints of being cold or inconvenienced during our time here and suddenly it all paled in comparison to the plight of these people.

Angry clouds promising the threat of rain rolled in on Sunday, while I stood over a pot of boiling hot chocolate. After stirring the hot chocolate to perfection, we poured it into thermoses to deliver to families in mediaguas along with the chocolate chip cookies and brownies that we had spent baking and packaging the day before.

Rain tapped on my hood as I stood at the front door of the first home. We knocked on the front door and suddenly every insecurity that I’d been intentionally ignoring rushed to the front of my mind like the cold wind blowing at my back. “What would they think of these gringas showing up at their door? Would they understand my Spanish? Would they be blessed by our gift or would they find it impractical and possibly even insulting- the door opened and we were immediately invited in to take shelter from the weather.

I stepped into their home and all my fears melted away with the warmth of their greeting. Like typical Chileans, they proceeded to offer us food and drink. I couldn’t help laughing at the irony. The plan was to bless them, not the other way around. Overall, everyone seemed to be receptive. Most families were pretty open about their circumstances. One family in particular, a single mom with her aging mother and ten year old daughter, touched our hearts though.

With every family, the children were always eager to immediately try a chocolate chip cookie or brownie, but despite repeated encouragement, this little girl continued to decline. I could see it in her eyes. She didn’t want some sweet that would soon leave her yet again in want. She wanted something more.

As her mom was sharing about the hardships of caring for her family, while having no job for the past few months, the little girl began to cry. Feeling the weight of the burden this family was carrying, tears streamed down my cheeks. Trying hard to keep from sobbing, I wondered, “What am I doing here? Who am I kidding? We can’t fix these people’s problems.”

One of our friends, who came with us, circled everyone around the three of them and began to pray. I’ve been wrestling with God a lot these days and lately I’ve been finding prayer with other people to be a bit strange and often uncomfortable, but in this moment it couldn’t have felt more right. When our friend finished praying, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Though the burden was still there, it now felt lighter and a sense of peace was greater.

At that moment, I realized what this little girl wanted and every one of these families we visited are in need of is hope. I wish I could rescue them from their problems, but I can’t even rescue myself from my own. I think I know someone else, who can though. Someone, who often for reasons I never seem to understand, doesn’t always rescue us from our troubles. Yet I can’t deny the grace I’ve always seen given in the midst of those troubles or the times that I or others have clearly been rescued from unwanted circumstances. Some days it’s harder than others to believe that Jesus Christ is our only hope, but I guess it wouldn’t be faith if it was easy.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23 (Holy Bible, English Standard Version).

Advertisements
August 12, 2010

La belleza de la humanidad

It’s been a week since we arrived here in Chile and I still can’t seem to believe that I’m actually here.  Memories flood my mind with every familiar sight, smell, and sound.  Friendly faces greet me with warm hugs and kisses asking, “Te acuerdas de mí?  Me acuerdo de ti!”  (Do you remember me?  I remember you!)  To be honest, there are some individuals that I don’t remember, but I have never forgotten the Chilean people as a whole.

Anyone, who knows me today, knows that I have a border-line obnoxious love for Latinos.  However, this wasn’t always the case.  In fact, the first time I came to Chile, I didn’t really want to be here – for many reasons that would take far too much time and detail to explain, but my heart just wasn’t here.  I didn’t completely hate my experience, but I clearly remember counting down the days until we finally got to leave.

Sitting in the Santiago airport waiting to board our flight back to the US, I remember staring out at the massive Andes before me wondering whether I had squandered my time.  In that moment, as clear as the marvelous view before me, I heard God say, “Yes, this is a sight to remember, but you will soon behold it again.”

Ever since my feet left the land of Chile in 2005, my growing passion for the country has confirmed the common saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Never in a million years, would I have wished the devastation of the February earthquake on my dear brothers and sisters, but in a way, I’m thankful that it motivated me to return.  My love for Chileans is so strong that I can’t help, but let it overflow.

When I was asked to contribute to the roundtable during my time here, I wondered, “What could I possibly have to contribute?  I’m just a crazy white girl with an unexplainable infatuation with Latinos.”  However, in the presence of my Chilean friends these last few days, I’ve been humbled by both their strength and contentment despite the many adversities of this year.  In only a few days, I’ve already been challenged to consider what really matters in life.

I am reminded of a quote from Mark Twain, which is my mission statement for traveling. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  For those of you, who may never make it to this beautiful country and those, who still may, it is with this new perspective during this experience that I intend to share my thoughts with you – thoughts not merely about Chileans, but about the beauty of humanity.

July 13, 2010

Why I write

I write because my pen was touched by the hand of God,
destined to get high off my ink until I touch the sky.

I write because I am going to change the world or die trying,
embracing both fates because I have two hands that hold two pens, mightier than two swords.

I write because the struggle is a struggle and is only beautiful when it is a struggle.

I write because I want you to share, and above all to care, and after that to dare,
to be more than ordinary.

I write because my sisters are hungry and my brothers are angry and it is time to give them a voice.
I write for the little boys with no fathers, the silent screams muffled by pillows in the middle of the night.
I was listening.

I write to point to Him as the answer, the one that went before me so many years ago.

I write to break the cycle, and identify myself as a disciple, of all that is good and right.

I write because I am a gift and when I stop giving I get bigger and it becomes all about me.

And so, I write, for you.

January 9, 2008

Consciousness

“We gotta make a change…It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live and let’s change the way we treat each other.You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do, to survive.” (Tupac Shakur).

Science has come a long way from what it used to be. I would argue that it has come full circle. Once an institution that had no time for the soul, mind, spirituality or any such notions it is now turning over a new leaf. Science started this whole concept of “if I cannot see, collect or measure it then it doesn’t exist”. This school of thought argued that the concept of the soul or consciousness was myth. We are basically higher thinking computers or robots controlled by our brains.

The issue at hand was that science wanted to be able to have man fit into its concept of the natural world. One that could be calculated and explained by mathematical equations, to translate loosely. Thus, science abandoned the concept of the soul or consciousness because it just didn’t fit. The greatest irony in all of this is that to be human one had to have choices and decisions, fall in love or even hate. In other words to study the human, science tried to destroy the very thing that made us human.

Thankfully, this ridiculous notion is being abandoned and the result is that scores of scientists are meeting with religious leaders around the world to try and come up with other concepts of trying to study and understand human beings. Good luck with all of that.

The point I am trying to make is that human beings have always historically tried to be in control. All the ugliness of past wars, racism, sexism, slavery, and even in sports, the prevalent concept has remained control. Adolf Hitler wanted to control the world, Osama bin Laden wants to control Israel and the United States, the Enron executives wanted to control more money, even Roger Clemens wanted to regain control of his fastball at 40 (okay maybe I went too far but you see where I am going with this).

This is why most people refuse the concept of a God or a maker. We would rather have that God show himself to us on our own terms or else He doesn’t exist. This control is what science craved so badly that they wrote goodness and love out of the script.

Some things just don’t need explaining. When you close your eyes and you get that certain feeling inside you, maybe you should just take it for what it is. We don’t need to know why we feel very protective of little children or why we prefer certain kinds of music over others or why flowers are so pretty. Or maybe we already know and we just don’t want to accept it.