Looking Darkness In The Eye

By request, I decided to re-post this blog specifically for this weekend and next week. As most of you know, there are a handful of powerful opportunities over the next week to learn more about how to get involved in the needs of Africa. From Falling Whistles presentations, Dry Tears talks, and LABOR OF LOVE. I have posted all of them on my page and would encourage you to check it out.
Speaking for myself, I cannot close my eyes to it all any longer believing that I cannot make a difference. Below is a blog I wrote upon my recent return from Congo. I would be honored for you to take the time to read it - and join me in the fight. Much Love - b
What do you do when you look darkness in the eye? What is our natural reaction? Ill tell you. We look away. We look very far away. Why? It makes us feel uncomfortable. It makes us feel uneasy….even disturbed. I have only been back home from Congo a few days – and I can easily say that, on many levels, I have looked darkness in the eye. From that deep gaze have come many thoughts and questions. Many of which I will not share – some of which I will. The most important one is this: What am I to do with all of this? I think over my experiences – the stories shared, the sights seen, the tears cried – and I ask Him: What would you have me to do with this? I think about the child soldier at the orphanage asking me in his broken English if I would be his “father” (wishing to ask me to be his mother, but getting his words mixed up), I think about the mother I sat with whose baby was literally snatched from her by the rebels as she ran away from her village, I think about the hollow eyes of the little 6 year old boy who had witnessed something so tragic that he has disengaged from reality around him, I think about the 60% of women in the Congo who have been raped……the women trying to give us their children……the refugees (IDPs) in the camps whose food supplies have been cut in half. Darkness. Heaviness. Twisted as it is - this is their normal. Though their trials overwhelm me, I am equally amazed at their strength….at their smiles. Their joyful worship. I recall the children at the refugee camp who had gathered plastic bags to wrap around and around, tying it with strings to eventually form a home-aid soccer ball. Resilience. The widows who have 6-7 children of their own (and taking care of 2-3 other orphans) who have started their own business of selling flour made from tree roots so all of them may eat each day. Persistence. I think about the laughter of the girls at the orphanage after showing them how to blow bubbles and then to chase them. Joy. I think about the smiles on the faces of the refugee women as they left the conference after learning - for the first time - how to begin healing from their heart wounds. And then I remember back to the first few days…..the feeling I had of smallness. Feeling so small compared to the size of their pain and questioning if I could make a difference at all. It was so much bigger than I was. SO much bigger than I was. I think about these things: seeing their faces, remembering their stories – and I ask Him: Lord, what do I do with it all?

This is my answer…

I will do something. Some Thing. There is much I cannot do. I cannot stop the violence, violation, starvation, or government corruption. But I will not let that stop what I Can do: Some Thing. I will see the fact that I am here and they are there as a responsibility – and now that I know - I am even more responsible. I will resist the temptation to place my knowledge in a target bag and cram it under the bed, pretending that these things don’t go on, just because it makes me uncomfortable - even disturbed. Yes, I am tempted – but not tempted enough. “I don’t see how you can do it….how you can hear that….how you can help.” I hear that often. My answer: If they can go through it – survive it – how can I not? How can I not merely sit with them in it for a little while, grieve for them, pray for them, give them just the seeds of healing? No, I will not feel small. I will feel ….I will Feel. I will be courageous enough to sit with it in prayer, asking how God may make baskets of bread out of the tiny loaves I hand Him. That may be as small as sponsoring an orphan to make sure (first and foremost) they will live and die knowing the Lord as their Savior – and then being fed and clothed along the way Home; or large enough as developing a trauma counseling curriculum to be used with the War-Torn Children of Africa. Regardless – I will do something. I ask you to courageously join me. We all have our gifts to be used in different ways to make some sort of difference. But may we not see the gravity of the problem as a means to tuck our gifts away in the “it won’t make a difference” corner. Because it will. It simply will.

He teaches me….In the strangest ways He teaches me. For example, let’s just say in a 3 year old autistic little Kenyan boy who sat next to me on the plane ride home, after 2 weeks of Wonderful Weariness and being used by the Lord more than I deserve to be. My mind racing trying to wrap my head around what I have witnessed and heard. Realizing that maybe the problem is that my head is getting in the way. He and I are looking out the window at the beautiful clouds, seemingly hovering at 20,000 feet above the ground, and he starts to repeat something that sounded oh so familiar to my heart. Something that I seem to have been repeating to myself in the few weeks before - over and over again in my head. Something profound. Looking at the universe outside the small window of plastic, he started saying this: “It is bigger than we are……It is bigger than we are….It is ….It is….bigger than we are.”

Eyes glazed over with the feeling of disbelief and the beginning of tears. I looked at him and knew….God speaking through the mouth of a babe. “Yes,” I said, “Yes, it is.” I looked away and I smiled a little. Wanting to look up in the sky – as if I were actually closer to Him up there – to say, “Thank You. It IS so much bigger than we are, isn’t it?…..the heavens. The Heaven. And so is Life - SO much bigger than we are, but the beauty is that so are You. And Y O U are in the middle of it all. Not on the outside looking in. Not sitting in your rocking chair shaking your head in disbelief. No – you are not us….but you are IN us. WITH us….through our tears, through our violation, through our orphaned journey, through our loss….you are not hiding. You are in the midst. And the hope of Heaven (especially for these hurting ones) is Bigger than it all. So maybe the question is not, where are you in all of this? I know, now, where you are: You are on the battlefield. Maybe the question is, ‘Where are we?’”