I feel curiously stapled together today. Weak but strong at the same time.
Tomorrow I go to a reunion for people who were raised, or worked in Pakistan. The reunion has been going on for a number of years, held on a biannual basis. The first time I ever went was two years ago and my heart was in a third culture kid heaven of sorts; that place where your past in all its complexity and fun is understood. It was an amazing time.
And this year we hold it again at a spot in Colorado Springs with an old castle and beautiful grounds near Garden of the Gods. Any place called Garden of the Gods must be spectacular – right?! I am on the planning committee and our fun includes an afternoon tea, a Bollywood night, and a Pakistani banquet complete with curry, naan, and rice. Most of all it includes people from my peculiar tribe.
Whenever you head off on a trip like this and leave a demanding job, there are a myriad of details. Tying up the proverbial loose ends, making sure I’ve covered everything at work so I can leave in peace, putting my out of office response on, my voice mail message telling people in a professional, authoritative tone that makes me sound much more sophisticated than I am that I will be ‘out of the office’ and who to contact if they need me.
But I feel curiously stapled together and somewhat fragile. I hate that crises rage across the world and that I am unable to do anything. My idealism feels crushed, I feel incredible guilt, most of all I wish I was somewhere, anywhere, where I could help, where I could be a part of some sort of solution.
In February DL Mayfield – a beautiful voice on the internet, wrote a piece called “Mercy – Sacrifice.” She spelled out how my heart feels right now. I have such a strong desire to be beautiful to the world – not physical beauty, but the beauty of compassion, of empathy, of healing. And yet all I am right now is curiously stapled together,
So I go back to DL’s words, because you may have noticed, I have few of my own lately. And I read this:
where my bruised reeds at? he says, looking for the walking wounded, the bent-over men and women, the smoldering wicks. where are my people who don’t even know up from down anymore, who can no more suss out what is sustainable than they can solve the problems of the world? where are my people at, he says, the ones who are beating back addictions, dysfunctions, lies that slink in and out around our ears? those are my people, he says, the ones i will not break. they are the ones i will not snuff out.
i used to think there were only two options for life: burning bright into the dying of the light, or sitting quietly to the side, snuffed out by the cares of life. now i am seeing all the middle places, the flickering candles, the fragile ones, the ones keeping vigil, praying, fasting, singing songs of truth, teaching, believing, creating.
but of course everything about Jesus is so upside-down, so the third way, eschewing the false dichotomies we create in order to love or loathe ourselves. he chooses the half-burnt out, the emptied, the white-knuckled. D_L Mayfield
I am half-burnt out, empty, but curiously stapled together; like the teapot I write about in Between Worlds. Deep cracks and staples where once was fine china. To the casual observer it is not an object of beauty – but to me, the owner, it is amazing. Maybe somehow God can use even this.
How about you? How do you feel weak but strong at the same time?
Readers – Tomorrow will be the last day you can participate in the book giveaway. The GoodReads giveaway closes on July 27, the Communicating Across Boundaries one closes tomorrow. Make sure you read the post and use one of the ways given to let me know you are interested! If you have purchased and are reading the book, would you think about going to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to review?