A light snow has fallen all day. I’m sitting on the couch watching the flakes dance with abandon, blown by the wind, just doing what snow flakes do. I smile in spite of myself. They stop at the whim of no one but their Creator. Would that I be the same! Unstoppable in purpose, dancing with abandon and joy.
In our part of the world it’s a perfect day to curl up with some good reads!
Holding Space by Heather Plett is my first pick. I’ve never seen this blog before but I am struck by the author’s desire to in her words “hold meaningful conversations.” In the piece I have linked to, Heather talks about how a palliative care nurse helped walk her family through end of life care by “holding space for them.” She describes what this is and how to do it well. I found the piece wise and interesting and hope you will too.
Excerpt: “What does it mean to “hold space” for people? What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”
You Probably Won’t Read this Piece About Syria is in Al Jazeera and felt sad, troubling, and convicting. March 15th was the anniversary of Syria’s fifth year of conflict, fifth year of civil war. The article is a direct challenge to continue to care. A challenge to the journalist, a challenge to the reader, a challenge to you and I. The difficulty that I pondered as I attended a party with mostly Syrians a few days later is: how do I care? what does it look like practically to continue to care when we are miles away? I would love to hear what you think.
Excerpt: “Several human rights groups, and many Syrians, had a powerful accusation to make that day. The world, they said, had failed the country and her people. The world didn’t care anymore.
The twisted steal the attention. And the people we should pay attention to fade into the background, bit players in a narrative wrongly and unfairly dominated by the grotesque.
Sometimes journalism itself feels like a fight to get people to care.
And as often, maybe more often, it’s a fight to get yourself to. Every day, the media deals in stories of death and devastation and despair. Too often, it feels like work, just there to be processed. A day’s pay to be earned.
But we have a duty. Because these are other people’s stories.
And they deserve to have them heard.”
We Palestinians Say “Allahu Akbar” by Nadezhda Kevorkova is an interview with the only Palestinian Orthodox Christian priest in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It is a fascinating interview and I think it is an important one for Western Christians in particular to read. Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios talks about being Palestinian and being united with Muslims and Christians alike in the Palestinian struggle. He also challenges the notion that the word “Allah” should only be used by Muslims. Allah is the word for God, and in Arabic speaking places both Christians and Muslims alike use this word. I find it incredibly irritating when Western Christians go off on the word “Allah” ignorant of how it is used in other parts of the world. He reclaims the words “Allahu Akbar” as words that a Christian can use to express the greatness of our Creator. This is only one of many interesting things in the interview.
Excerpt: My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.
I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights. I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.
We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.
As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.”
On my night stand: I’m so excited about this next book! I met the author at the Families in Global Transition conference that I went to in March in Washington D.C. Her name is Brittani Sonnenberg and the title of the book is Home Leave. The book is about a global family but centers on two sisters. Stay tuned for more as I do a book give away in the next week or two. It was amazing to meet this talented young author and I look forward to giving away a copy of Home Leave. Instead of an excerpt I will leave you with one of the reviews of the book on Amazon.
Review: “It’s hard to believe that this astonishing novel is Brittani Sonnenberg’s first–she writes about family with wisdom, humor, and native daring. Here is Persephone’s journey, undertaken by an entire family, the Kriegsteins, who ricochet through time zones, moving from Berlin to Singapore to Wisconsin to Shanghai to Atlanta, together and alone. Sonnenberg’s prose is so vital and so enchanting that you will read this book in the dilated state of a world-traveler, with all of your senses wide open. Her family members are so well-drawn and complex that you’ll close this book certain they exist.“—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Now it’s your turn! What have you been reading? What do you recommend? I would love to hear from you.