I’m in a bad mood. It could be because I’ve had a headache for 36+ hours but actually this mood has been building for a while.
I feel stuck. I’m looking back over my life. Being a missionary kid, born overseas, multi-cultural upbringing, being a Christ-follower a long time, tons of biblical study, college degree, worked for a mission agency, worked for Urbana student missions convention, summers overseas, the gift of mercy that breaks my heart over and over combined with an iron will, good people skills, a gift for writing, being articulate and passionate, with cross-cultural skills and training, ten years of management experience, being innovative, creative, willing not to mention a decent if not good , truly willing to live anywhere in the world… and I am
an unemployed homemaker. And that isn’t what makes me mad, per say. Because these ten years that I have spent caring for my family and getting well have been absolutely necessary. God took me by the lapels and said some fairly harsh things. What I needed. I guess I had such a sheltered childhood and adolescent years that I needed to make some mistakes and pretty much fall bald-facedly forward – splat – in my humanity and stink. And that makes me grateful not mad.
What makes me mad is reading about people who get to serve, now in Haiti. In Afghanistan. In Iraq. Russia. Kiev. Turkey. Anywhere.
I then I read this a few minutes ago, on one of the blogs I follow. She’s going to Haiti and she’s “not quite sure about it.”
There will be dead bodies, and she’s really busy already, never slept anywhere but her bed and a hotel,“and my sense of smell is really overactive so there’s no way I could possibly handle what Haiti must smell like” You have to take those malaria pills that make your stomach hurt and what if there’s another earthquake while you’re there? What if you get shot at? You won’t have your choice of firm or soft pillows and it very well will smell like the rotting stench of death. You might be sleeping in a tent on the ground.” We all get to be a part of that story – whether it’s by donating money or supplies or by taking a couple of Valium and getting on a plane.
Excuse me? That’s not even cute and definitely not funny. I think she meant well, but I resent her attitude. I can’t help but think why her? It’s so damned unfair. She’s clearly not even prepared.
And then I begin to be angry at myself. I resent all my mistakes and weaknesses that made my being here in Madison the story of my life. Two times I started to answer that voice in my head that said go.
I was training as a Red Cross volunteer when Katrina happened, but I was too soon out of the hospital with depression and suffering from chronic bronchitis. They encouraged me to not go because the place was full of mold. Subsequently I learned a lot of things about the Red Cross that concerned me with them as an organization. I did not continue my training.
I want to be trained in Emergency Relief, just not with the Red Cross. Am I too picky? Would I be there in Haiti right now if I had continued on with that organization. They make it easy for the average person to pursue relief work.
October of last year (2008) I applied and was accepted for a Master’s Photography Class set in Cambodia. For the first time in years I felt a quickening in my heart and anticipation for the future! Long story short, it cost too much money which we didn’t have going into a recession. Door slam. Dream over. I know now, beyond looking forward to learning about photojournalism I was looking forward to the smells, the people, the food, the danger, the excitement (I hope that’s okay to admit) of being in another culture.
I am angry at myself. I am angry at this woman. I am angry about my past, my mistakes and weaknesses and fear. I’m a messy person but I know that those lessons have made me the person that I am today. And tho the journey of walking with God is more learning that truly being “ready” in my heart I’m ready Lord – for anywhere – sleeping in a tent – serving – helping – whatever is next. And I know that the whole journey of who I am, where my life started in the jungles of Papua New Guinea to being (potentially) a third generation missionary, to being an artist and writer and photographer — it is all full of purpose and a journey of consequence. My life story was no accident.
All I can do right now — today — is relent for now, keep learning and studying, and do what is in front of me; serve locally and hope against all hope that some day God will send me.
Be well, even when you’re angry.