While I wrote this last weekend, this post pretty much sums up the entire past week as the elevation of joy and "hard stuff" has continued. Just thankful for my Rock that I can cling to through it all!
I’ve been living a kaleidoscope of thoughts and feelings the last couple of days. All the colors of life - the bright and the dark - make it more beautiful, but it's not always easy. On the one hand, it’s birthday week here in Musoma – and pretty much around the world, it seems! We got to host all the ladies at our home for a fun night on Saturday, playing Nertz, laughing a LOT, and realizing we need more time-outs like this from life. Sunday I had a relaxing day of cooking. Monday I had a good start to the school week, a fun evening “off” with my roommate and a fabulous introduction to Doctor Who while crafting on the couch.
My 30th birthday is in a couple days, and while I’m generally cool with this landmark (though perhaps not as excited as my kindergartener who’s been counting down to her October birthday since the first day of school!), it’s also been a time of processing, looking back, and looking forward as I rest in the Almighty’s arms and choose to Trust and enjoy this adventure called life.
Woven into the background of this thirty-year, busy but full tapestry of life reflection have been the reports from Nairobi. Hostages held in a supermarket we’ve all frequented on our trips to Nairobi. Checking BBC reports online and getting Whatsapp personal reports from a friend in the city, who was supposed to be at Westgate that day. I know pretty well the spiritual battle here in the world, and I know this event is just a reflection of our fallen world. At the same time, it’s depth and impact and close-to-homeness makes it oh so much more real and gut-wrenching. My heart hurts, my soul cries, “Jesus, this is too much. Please, come soon!”
I’m holding fast to Truth and joy, not letting the world’s ideas of what three decades of abundant life lived means to those with critical eyes, and am celebrating a life thus-far well-lived. I’m mourning deep the despair and hurt of our fallen world, of lives lost and cruelty and hate not-yet-overcome. My prayers come in short spurts and I’m glad God knows what my heart is speaking when I can’t find the words.
I’m not a stranger to counting my days, to knowing just how much can change and how short life can be. I’ve felt disappointments and hurts, fears and failings, not being what people expected or wanted or even deserved. I’ve felt joy unspeakable, dear friendships that welcome me openly and loving acceptance without reservation. I know just how quickly this can all pass away. And I wish that recent events aren’t the reason for reminding me yet again of the shortness, frailty, and gift of life we’ve each been given.
Lives celebrated, lives lived and loved. Lives lost in tragedy and fear. Being surrounded and loved on from family and friends near and far. Watching people hiding in corners, fearful of gun fire and praying for their lives. Knowing the shortness of our breath-long life on earth, and loving and enjoying and living full each day. Standing arm in arm with brothers and sisters in Kenya and around the world with blisters and bruises, batterings and bombings… feeling the sting of death, the weight of sin, the hurt of tragedy and brutality of scars.
So, this is life. A sadly apt reality of life, of my life, in a nut-shell. Of the world, this place we’re called to live in for now before the joy of heaven begins. Joy and sorrow mixed bleeding on a cross. And prayers mixed with thanksgivings and hurts poured out to One who, somehow, understands it all.