What’s another word for angry? irritated, miffed, annoyed?

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.

Melody

Questions, cause I’ve been thinking

I have a lot of questions right now because I’ve been  thinking.  And when I start thinking I find I end up with more questions.

diversity @ church.

One of my favorite writers, Philip Yancey, recently scoured his hometown churches to see what he might find.   His comment about diversity in a church stood out to me.

As I read accounts of the New Testament church, no characteristic stands out more sharply than this one. Beginning with Pentecost, the Christian church dismantled the barriers of gender, race, and social class that had marked Jewish congregations. Paul, who as a rabbi had given thanks daily that he was not born a woman, slave, or Gentile, marveled over the radical change: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Huh, diversity is Biblical.  ‘Nuf said.

MLK day was it ignored or forgotten? does it matter which.

Can I just say I love my church.  I have never grown in my spiritual life the way I have at this church.  It is amazing.

That said, yesterday I realized a stunning thing.   I attend one of those “mainly white mega-churches that don’t mention commemorating Martin Luther King Day.”   That made me sad.  They likely bumped it because of praying for Haiti and there are many challenges managing program time.  Still, I think it is important for a church to communicate from the platform that remembering and celebrating with our friends of color is significant to us all and valuable.   It’s a national holiday?  How are people going to spend it? Just made me wonder.

I’ve been writing on multi-ethnicity.

A friend asked me to reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:1-3, after reading these thoughts I wrote about my experience of going to a white church and my question of whether I should consider attending a multi-ethnic or even Black church.

Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. ‘The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.  So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living.  But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.  (New Living Translation)

From my post:

To live our lives based on that simple truth means our lives are built on self-sacrifice.  Every time we respond in love to someone else, we are laying down our lives for them.  “This is my commandment,that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another.” Strange how Jesus did not say to us, “these are my commandments.”  He said is as if it were one commandment.

To believe and love is one idea.

Believing in Christ means that we love one another.  Looking at it that way, there is a lot that I can do as a person with my affluence & power &  a voice for the cause of reconciliation in my city.  Things that have nothing to do with where I worship on Sunday.

What my friend Jimmy was gently saying (I think) is that people are living with oppression in our nation my city, in my kid’s schools.  And no one white people don’t seem to genuinely offer care and comfort.

I will do further study on the word: COMFORT.  And that will sooth my intellect.  But can I DO something.  What can I do?

That takes me back to my Advent Lament and prayer. Oh God, Tell me what you want me to do.

And from someone I am coming to read often, a cautionary quote to white people.

I can only speak anecdotally on this, but there seems to be a growing movement of white people—including Christians—who feel so victimized by political correctness (and how it’s robbing them of their rights) that they’ve hardened their hearts to any suggestion that racial injustice is a factor in our society today. And they’ve become cold to how their privileged words and actions might affect others. That defensive mindset and callousness could be the biggest obstacles to true reconciliation in our churches and nation. Ed Gilbreath, emphasis mine.

I believe God speaks and it is not random.

I believe that God challenges and moves people from within by breaking our hearts over injustice around us.  He is not random about this.  He leads us toward things.  And away from things.  Problematically I have been told  and I can affirm that I have the gift of mercy.   I pop open my laptop and the needs and issues all over the world, and in my community, flood toward me and it all hurts.   If I open myself up to it it’s crushing.  It makes me sad, and mad, and sometimes depressed.  Hopeless and sometimes despondent.  And I slam my laptop shut, but that’s just an excuse for doing nothing.

I challenge  myself to pray every day asking God to tell me how to respond to the OPPRESSED in my life and community.  Who are they?  How can I comfort?  Help me to know what it means to comfort the oppressed?

This means that I cannot be free until all men are free. And if in some distant future I am no longer oppressed because of blackness, then I must take upon myself whatever form of human oppression exists in the society, affirming my identity with the victims. The identity must be made with the victims not because of sympathy, but because my own humanity is involved in my brother’s degradation.  The Christian Century (15 September 1971)

what should I do with myself?

I continue to pray that I would know what God wants me to do with my time, work, contribution, opinions (*smirk*), and talents.

I’m still mulling on a conversation I had with one of my girlfriends (Someone I would trust with my life.)  We discussed what I am doing now.  I found myself saying this,

“I need a job.  I’m feeling like a kept woman.”

Why she asked? Laughing at me, if can you believe it.

“I need to make a contribution. I feel guilty that I don’t have a ‘job.’ The feminist in me is screaming that I should be carrying my weight… I was never going to be a stay-at-home mom..  And look at me, my kids are in elementary school.”

After leaving full-time work in 2001, I had no idea as it was happening that was beginning a long journey of “recovery” from being totally addicted to work — the rush, the sense of purpose, the affirmation (Oh, how I miss the affirmation!)  I came out of that detox a better person.  A stronger person.  Much better understanding that I am not what I do.  And I’m glad (mostly) that I have been able to be at home with my children for the last eight or is it nine years.  I feel okay about it, some days even good.  I can see every day why I am home when it comes to my kids.  Jacob’s need for an advocate for his learning disabilities is just one example.  On one level, I think I started Imagine Photography to dispel that feeling of being ‘a kept woman.’  Bring in a little income myself, but still have the at-home life.  But I haven’t taken off with that even though with my marketing background I know how to promote myself.  Something has held me back.

But I digress.

What Carol did was confront those ideas head on (yes, the voices in my head) that say I should be ‘making money.’  It freed me to consider any job or volunteer situation because  I was thinking about it only in terms of money not in terms of values and interests and calling and heart’s desires.

I just feel freed.  It was inconceivable to me at first that someone who manages to work and be a mom (my friend who I really respect and need) would not look down on me for not working.  She actually said, you do work.  Every day.  Well, we don’t need to have a debate about what I do all day and whether it’s work.  Her blessing (not that she represents all women) and her opinion is one of the more important to me.

But now,  I can pray and wait.  Listen.  Try things.  Explore.  I can give of myself without thinking about “earnings.”

Haiti

When it comes to Haiti I have more questions than answers.  This poem is a part of that conundrum.  Also, a post.

This week’s message @ church

I wanted to respond to the message this Sunday at my church.  But I don’t have the time or energy today.  But something new I am going to add to this blog, is a personal reflection on the talk.  I think it will force me to take it to the next level of integration into my life.

Be well.