Posts Tagged With: pain

Why Staying in the Grind is Key

Bring to the table whatever you have to give and receive from the generosity of others when their desire is to help you.

I have been meaning to write this blog for the past two weeks, because this title rung in my ears as a mantra of my current season.

Confession: I have been holding off on writing because I have not felt sufficient time, sufficient mental capacity, sufficient adequacy to be able to compose a worth-reading post. In other words, I wanted perfection.

I often desire perfection. It’s in my nature. Perhaps it’s exacerbated when it comes to writing because I consider myself a quality writer and I don’t wish to publish anything less than prestigious. But how ironic, especially for this particular written expression , that I would be prone to await the perfect words to describe the importance of pulling through the rougher patches in life with whatever capacity you have.

If you’re a reader of The Bible, perhaps you have read through Psalm 89. The writer of these poetic words begins with “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever. I will make His faithfulness known through all the generations.” Interestingly enough, the writer later ends up bringing to God’s attention some of his current grief. It’s almost as if he is saying “Oh hey, God, by the way, your servant has been sort of beat up and mocked and isn’t feeling so swell”. On and on he goes. It’s obviously important to be present with the pain and darn it, you should be able to SAY SO… even to God.
The key part here is that the writer ends his grieving expressions with what seems like a 180 degree turn. “Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.”

I was sort of surprised by this. For who could relay their immense troubles in a way that appears they feel forgotten by God and then instantly say, “I bless you, Lord”?

The renown Henri Nouwen says this in this exert “Stand Erect in Your Sorrows”.

“As long as you remain standing, you can speak freely to others, reach out to them, and receive from them. Thus you speak and act from your center [your place of true genuity and rawness] and invite others to speak and act from theirs.”
(Nouwen 62,  The Inner Voice of Love)

The longer I trek through life (and yes, I know it hasn’t been that long),  the more I recognize the confusion from others and even from myself when I worship the Lord, seek Him out, and simultaneously communicate openly the painful struggles right in front of me, some of which have been pretty harsh!

Moments on top of moments have passed when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. For goodness sake, where could God be the seemingly unending trials anyway? And yet time and time again I find the rewards from staying in the rough, walking through the trials as opposed to around them, and standing erect in my sorrows. Believe it or not, struggling does not isolate you from community, it doesn’t remove your influence on the lives of others, and it does not put your relationships on hold… at least it shouldn’t. If it has, then I’d dare to say you have thrown in your towel.

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Joy is present in the pain, especially when you walk it out with Jesus. One might never know that this picture was taken on one of my mentally and physically weakest days a couple weeks back. The photographed moment with this little guy followed a transparent talk about what was going on in my life with his mother, Fatemeh. I did not want to be transparent. I did not want to show my pain to others. But what would ya know… speaking from my center invited Fatemeh to be present with hers. And being there with her family actually brought some rest and authentic smiles.

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The beginning of trip Rwanda

25 August, 2012

We are in Rwanda now. What a beautiful country. I always thought it would be a merging country with Uganda…more or less the same, but it’s not. It’s trashless and beautiful countryside. I mean, I have only seen the samll villages on the drive in but it looks nothing like Mukono.

For these first couple of days, we are staying in a guesthouse. There are 50 of us…USP students, a few honors UCU students, staff and a handful of reverends. It’s a nice place. We are here on this trip for multiple reasons…today was Rwandan “help a neighbor” workday. It is tradition that people come together in the community and help each other complete projects. We helped the guest house we were in by moving large rocks to build a foundation. Some of us moved rocks through an assembly line and others carried on our backs, heads, shoulders and hips. What a workout and boy did we get dirty! It was simply great.

The other purpose for us being here is to experience the history and effects of the Rwandan genocide. I have watched “Hotel Rwanda” before and a documentary with USP students just two days prior, but we watched a PBS movie tonight called “The Ghosts of Rwanda”. It simply blew my mind again and by the end, listening to video recordings of President Clinton barely even ap0logizing for the stupidity of the United States by not stepping in to help save Rwandan Tutsis in 1994…oh, I am ashamed of my country. And this was in 2004 after Clinton had seen the endless remains of bodies in Rwanda…the bodies floating down the Nile, the skeletons in large Catholic churches and he cannot even say more than “Yes the U.S. has made some mistakes!” What B.S.! In writing in my journal, I did not even have to hesitate to write those words; it is just that disgusting. It makes me so angry! And to those of you who might not like me writing that, you are likely of age to remember the times of the genocide occurring, so you should be able to relate that much more.

I am currently reading “A Problem From Hell” by Samantha Powers, who appeared in both Rwandan genocide documentaries. There are so many genocides that have happened in the world, and the U.S. promised after the Holocaust (which was NOT the first genocide, by the way) that they would never let something like that occur without getting involved ever again. “Never again” was their statement justifying our lack of action. Yet the genocide in Rwanda came around and politicians would not touch the word simply to avoid that past promise.

So ashamed.

I just can’t help but sit here and think, this world trauma just occurred during my lifetime…when I was two years old, living on this earth, being dressed up in drilly dresses and bows for my little hairless head, being adored by my family as the first child. All the while, 800,000 innocent Rwandans, including little girls my age were being slaughtered on the other side of the world. It just hurt my heart so badly and I had to just weep and ask God, “Why? Wh am I here and why do I have to know all of this?” Is ignorance not bliss? I ask Him, “Lord, you have given me an empathetic heart, but it’s now hitting me that you have called and are going to continue calling much sacrifice from me. So what does that look like?” THat’s a scary question…it’s like praying for patience. For now the Lord has reminded me that He is sovereign. He forgives the killers and those just living without Him equally, on the same level. He also damns them to hell equally. My Lord does not judge by “what’s fair is fair”. He can’t, He is God, sovereign and beyond that human hitch of ours. It is that characteristic of God and only that that keeps me from questioning His hand in Rwanda.

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