Monthly Archives: November 2007

Processing the Lewis Speech

We heard Steven Lewis last night – a privilege. One comes away from a talk like that with many things to process. And I must be a bit of a slow processor. I need time to mull it all over in my head and deal with some of the information we were given. And not just for the sake of processing but to somehow respond in an appropriate way.

The Virus of Inequality I think we are all infected with it to a certain degree – and it can drive us mad with despair or paralyze us with hopelessness. I think it can probably cause us to jerk with spasms of frantic activism as well, thinking that our efforts will make the world change overnight by our own efforts. And of course that leads to hopeless despair as we come up against powers that are too big for us to budge. Or we can become deluded into a sort of selfish haze of indifference where we tell ourselves that we have worked hard for all we have and if only the rest of the world would shape up and share our political systems and economic ideals they would pull themselves out of the pits they are in. And above all we must protect what we have worked so hard to acquire.

What is a Christian to do?
I think we are called to something more like health. Even to a place of joy – not happiness, but a deep sense of wellness within that frees us to give ourselves in service to others. Nouwen says,

Ecstatic living entails a constant willingness to leave the safe, secure, familiar place and to reach out to others, even when that involves risking one’s own security. On an international scale this means a foreign policy that goes far beyond the question “How can our nation survive?” It would be a policy primarily concerned with the survival of humanity and willing to make national sacrifices. It would be a policy which realizes that idolizing the security of the nation endangers the whole of humanity….

…As long as national security is our primary concern and national survival more important than preserving life on this planet, we continue to live in the house of fear…. Nouwen, Lifesigns, Image Books, p 95

There is an inner joy that comes from knowing God – the “ecstatic” life that Nouwen talks about here that changes our relationship to the world around us. As he says, it exists in “the house of love” where we as Christians are called t o live. Loving and being loved frees us to serve others and the world and should send us out into the world around us almost like antibodies to this “Virus of Inequality” that Steven Lewis spoke so eloquently about. We do what we have to do in the areas we are placed. We stand for justice and honesty in our lives and in our politics. We do as Jesus did in standing for the oppressed. We have lots to do just in our little radii of influence but we also need to hold our leaders accountable for our actions as a nation and for the promises of our nation to the world.

The talk last night by Lewis was a great challenge to me. I will not be paralyzed into despair by the horrors that have been perpetrated on great segments of the world’s people, especially the women and children in countries at war. Living in the freedom of a deep joy that comes from knowing who I am in Christ, I will work in as many ways as I can to share the love that I have experienced with the hurting of the world. And I will renew my efforts to pass along these concerns to my children.


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In the middle of the night

From time to time I have these periods of time when I wake, become quite alertly awake, in the middle of the night. I can’t say as I like to wake up at 3 am. It is too much middle of the night to get up and too late to get up and read awhile so that I will get sleepy. (If I do that I find that by the time I get sleepy it is too late to go back to bed before work- not a good thing going off to work with only 4 hours of sleep.)

Quite often I will lie there thinking. Usually not particularly helpful thoughts. Fairly often those thoughts will turn into prayer after I have in my frustrated mind tried to solve the problem myself (in my head) for awhile.

Last night I was doing the same. I was thinking about my children and how maybe if I had done this…, or maybe if I had chosen to stay home when they were young… or maybe if I had been more… Then a new thought came to me, “I could never have been a perfect mother no matter how hard I would have worked at it. I don’t have to carry around all sorts of guilt around in my head because I made mistakes. Of course I made mistakes.”

Then it came to me that this is just one of the situations God has in his grace covered for me. He’s always known I was making mistakes and still he loved and cared for me. I can leave it with him. So there was an immediate sense of relief. The kids are really responsible now for themselves, not that I won’t love them forever and help them where I can. And of course I will continue to pray for them and sometimes worry about how they are doing. But maybe I will let go of all those useless “should haves” that pop up to keep me awake in the night.


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Now, on with life.

Back at it today after sleeping for the most part of the last 24 hours.

Now, on with life.

And today we are having supper – spaghetti, cake and ice cream – to celebrate Zakaryi’s second birthday. Grandpa and I were out together at noon shopping. It is a measure of a grandfather’s love for his grandson – he actually went shopping for him! (Leo is not in love with shopping.)


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