Monday, October 13, 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

I cannot even begin to explain what is happening in my head sometimes EVERY MINUTE of every waking hour.  That is not at all to say, that my sleeping thoughts are fewer or make more sense .  But that's another conversation for another time and I chuckle and shake my head in the wondering of my wandering mind.

I cannot describe it as rabbit trails, because for heaven's sake there is no rabbit on this planet that would run that hard for that long... every once in a while I throw out a random thought to the Captain just to relieve the pressure a little.  Most of the time he is good enough at covering the "blankness" in his stare and contributes the appropriate, yet non-committal  "huh" so that I don't feel the need to explain where it came from. 

But every once in a while he is so caught off guard that his expression gives him away before he has a chance to cover.  I probably definitely have an unhealthy desire to be understood so I dive head first into a promising explanation that connects the mental dots that got me to that point. 

I am overly entertained to hear it spoken aloud believing that the audio adds veracity and clarity.  His eyebrows usually say otherwise and I am left with the reaffirmation that my cranial activity needs to be saddled up and reined into submission like a wild horse...instead it remains more akin to the bull in the ring at the rodeo or a hamster in his wheel. 

None of this has a thing to do with anything except to reinforce the title of the blog..."Just a thought" and can serve as a warning that if it was a paper book, an entire forest could be consumed attempting to record the firings beneath my hair follicles.

Today my obsessive nonsensical thought...the cost of a mirror...

Cross cultural experiences add such richness to living.  Every once in a while the contrast in a particular area makes me take pause and circles over and over again in my head.  Living in a country rich in all manner of material things exaggerates the absence of possessions in poverty stricken third world environments.  As the years and trips roll around in my memory, every once in a while God shows me something true about myself.  Proves again that more is not necessarily better and there is a real freedom in simplicity.

Today For weeks, I have been swirling over the first mirror brought into the children's home in Uganda.  It was not intentional really, but attached to a wardrobe purchased for the closet-less room of our house mom Janet.  Its the only one and generally behind a closed bedroom door.  Children of all ages wake, bathe, dress for school and leave for the day with no reflection of their outward appearance.  Our female staff go through the same routine without the concern or ability to see what everyone else will as they go about their day.   

The number of mirrors in our home and the number of times we catch a glimpse of ourselves during a single day whether we intentionally seek it or not is mind boggling.  I am the first person I see in the morning and often the last real person at night.  Getting into the shower, brushing my teeth, and all manner of readying for a day happens within the capture of a rectangle reflection or two.  Closet doors, leave nothing to imagine in my clothed head to toe, and then 10 steps down the hall and another captures my profile.  Mirrors are framed like artwork and flipped down from the visor each one sending messages that boldly state   "acceptable today or not".  

Message recorded and then worn like an identity when the image we wear encounters the outside.  To deny it affects my mood or attitude or my strategic "hide and seek" on some days would be a lie.   To stand before a closet full and contemplate a trip to the mall is a direct result of the reflection on the other side of the door.  The cost of and time spend with a blow dryer or make up bag is an effort to hear the inaudible "well done" or "do over" or an all too often "waste of time" caption under the image. 

My sudden awareness of mirrors is by no means an exercise in self loathing but instead a remarkable acuteness of the time and expense and effects of seeing ourselves from the outside.  I heard Beth Moore refer to FACEBOOK as Fakebook and I felt immediately convicted not that I am contributing anything false, but that we take how many photos? to get  the most flattering and cringe when someone else tags or posts our image and we HATE it not because it isn't us, but because it really is and for heaven's sake real life isn't all that flattering.

Its easy for me to imagine a world without mirrors, where our sense of presentable is maybe more about the heart and the way we look toward others instead of worrying about how we look to them.  Several weeks each year there is some freedom I see and sense and admire.  

Less isn't always better..".the google" says mirrors were invented in the first century so clearly our physical image has always had some importance... God created us in his image so perhaps that is what we are really looking for when we gaze at our reflections...some sign that there is beauty stamped in us regardless of whether we can see it in the rectangle on the wall.

Genesis 1:27 "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them"


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"For our HOPE is in YOU alone"

Uncomfortable; wrestling...

This post has been started in my head a hundred times, usually in the middle of the night when the warm sheets and cool summer night air discourage me from getting up and actually writing anything down. 

The delay has been both the comfort of my pillow AND how to address the subject matter in a way that doesn't make us all curl up in a ball at the depths of evil in our world.  

Our newsletter is intended to keep our wonderfully committed and supportive sponsors, donors and encouragers in the know and updated on the recent past, present and future hopes of daily life at Chayah.   Facebook posts are brief and current;  prayer requests or antics of a young family to be celebrated.

SOME    NEWS    JUST    DOESN'T    FIT     comfortably    ANYWHERE

Within the reality of this very new ministry, born out of desperate circumstances, is a truth that the  rescue and protection of children was created in the heart of God.  Doing something can be just plain reactionary as we experienced in 2012.  The questions for us were both "what can we possibly do?" and "how can we even imagine not doing...something?"

We've moved past the thrilling, frightening, humbling  months of setting things up stateside.  January 2013 contains memories of putting together a protective, stable home filled with every necessity, stocked with food.  We got to welcome children, arriving with a variety of physical illnesses, emotional fears and their own wonder about the future.  We have gotten to experience the sweetness of watching their lives even out through security, love, and a father in God himself.  Perhaps we should be content, grateful and settle in to what should feel like success.

AND      YET      WE      WRESTLE

because there is this thing called "all the rest" and we hear stories that instantly tear our thoughts from contentment to tears and the relief of doing something is quickly swamped by a grieving...and we wrestle... and the news is ugly and we are uncomfortable again because...

a young girl's life was taken at the direction of a witch doctor and her mutilated body was left just yards from the protective walls of Chayah.  It's not the life itself he demanded, but enough of her that she could not survive it.  Satan has wreaked havoc, stolen, destroyed and made promises he will never keep, to a desperate someone willing to do the unthinkable...  and our kids are shaken and fearful...

and we wrestle and its uncomfortable

because sisters 11 and 13 are pregnant and its common... and at that age they should be playing jump rope not skipping over their childhoods.  The 11 year-old is blind and in some ways if rape were the cause it would maybe be easier to stomach, as wretched as that would be.  But instead they sold themselves for 40 cents because its all they have to sell and because their house is full of siblings already and their mother is now raising her grandchildren too and there... is... nothing.  And because who can plan for a tomorrow when today is so desperate.  Two more tiny lives will enter a home bulging against cow-dung walls... and a girl, not old enough to babysit in our families, will, in just a few months, suffer through and deliver a baby onto the red dirt floor of their home unless her own barely-adolescent frame refuses to cooperate with this taxing burden of motherhood called birth.  And then what...

and we wrestle and it's uncomfortable

because girls disappear regularly headed off with who-knows-who, to a promise of a job as a house servant in the big capitol city of Kampala.  Except that there are thousands of street children there who would take the paying job if there really was one.  And when a couple of years later a 15 year old returns, pregnant and used up...well heads hang at the reality of broken promises and shame replaces ignorance.  Motherhood will again drown childhood unless of course disease steals them both.   
and we wrestle...and it's painful...

and this kind of news reaches all the way across our shared God-created-earth and it doesn't sit or fit well anywhere.  And we are earnestly "ministry minded" and "God-changed" and have asked Him to" break our hearts with what breaks His" and so He does...
and we wrestle...and it's difficult to bear the knowing

But it is not without      H     O     P     E