Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tomorrow's Explanation

You know some mornings you wake up are suddenly inspired to do something? I woke up this morning very excited about life. I've been awake one hour and already have done some things that will hopefully leave my life in a better state.
Also, this week, not so much by coincidence or even intention as laziness/busy-ness*, marked one month since my last blog. So much for tomorrow. But here is some window into what I was thinking when I wrote "In The Field...".
Since returning from the Philippines, my mind had been in some state of unrest. I'd been thinking a lot about what I'm doing with my life, how I'm living, what I believe, how that translates into my actions, etc. More and more I was finding that the things I believe, especially about love for the poor and the way Jesus lived, were not well represented by the way I live. It is one to thing to do charity, but charity alone, as with anything, is not enough or anything without love**. Sometimes what I do is because I love, but sometimes it comes out more like a guilt reliever.
So I felt restless. Restless because of these realisations, but also because of something else in the back of my mind. For the entire time I've been talking, protesting, fundraising, advocating about poverty and change, I've felt uneasy. Slowly, I've begun to realise that, at least for me, what I am doing has something to do with my faith, but my faith has something to say about the way I'm doing it. Acts of charity are good, and they do good, but I always felt like there had to be more. Like it wasn't enough for me to raise money and still live the way I do. I feel like it's too easy in my life, too comfortable - and now I'm uncomfortable with the comfort. My grand visions of how to save the world, how to fix things, became me starting to think about just leaving here, going to live with the poor. However, this would require me giving up so much comfort - that I'm sure, at least for the beginning, I would miss - but also leaving my ministeries here and causing a strain on the relationships I have - friends, family, K. So for a long time, I had been trying to ignore this back of the head thought. But now I was confronting it, and this is the point where God spoke to me in the field.
Do not be afraid. I was terrified of what I was thinking. Terrified that it seemed that not only could I not ignore the call (excuse double negative), but that I was starting to dream of following it. Terrified of what God might be asking of me. Terrified of the unknowns I might be taken too. But I was reminded in the field that faith, hope and love and the three greatest things***, and that if I really have those things, I should go and know that I'd be ok. To some, I can imagine that sounds like a completely ridiculous idea.
Amaze. Because of doing things like ministry and Africa Aid, and loving them, I speak about them a lot. Some of my friends, or even people I meet, sometimes react in such a way: "Oh wow, you're doing so much for so many people! You're amazing!" Don't be mistaken, I like praise. Everyone does. However, when you start to look for praise or act because you know people will admire you, you became fake, unhealthy and a general loser. I felt like I was heading down that path. One of my friends regularly calls me Superman. Their partner, who I've never met but knows of me, calls me Jesus. Neither of these titles I deserve. In the field, God reminded me that the glory I might bring to him through the love I bring to people is far greater than any glory I might receive from people. That I should love in a way that is discreet and not self-seeking, but that will be glaringly loud through my life.
Turn your back. Like I said, I was thinking about leaving. This was about me understanding that there are people that very much need love here too. Poor in money, poor in possessions, but also poor in love. That applies to both people of wealth and none. I don't think this was so much a discouragement from going to the poor, as a reminder that I should honour and cherish the people I have here, instead of take them for granted.
Fix. I wrote before that I was dreaming about fixing the world. Changing it. Well, perhaps it is not the world that needs fixing, or maybe I'm in no position to do this until I start inspecting the woodwork in my eye. God was telling me to explore, share in life with people everyone - my house, my church, my community, my uni, my country, my world. That this might be a more powerful way of bringing love to people than having meetings and making spreadsheets and setting monetary targets. I am not an agent sent to the world to fix it. I am a member of this world, this massive community, and should participate as such.
Beauty. Again. Love. Take it to people. Give them it. If they don't, help them see their beauty.
Go. Get out of your shell, comfort. Get out of the field now. Go do life.
* There really should be a word 'busy-ness', because it's a better conveyor of what I mean than 'business'.
** 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
*** 1 Corinthians 13:13


  1. Wow.

    I don't know what to say much.
    Except that of course if you left (although I don't like to use the word 'left', it implies abandonment... and that is not at all what you would be doing) a lot of people would miss you.

    But I suppose the sacrifice is what, in a way, makes it mean something.

    Do good.

  2. Just as I would miss a lot of people. But the life that I might be given and might be able to share with others still has that irresistible pull on me. As you said, the sacrifice would make it all the more fulfilling. Sometimes you have to empty out some stuff to make room for better stuff.

    Attempting to do good. Good luck with yours.