overdue and shorter than it should be

well, for all of the promising i have done about being faithful in writing and posting, i am far behind.

i have a lot to tell you; setting up house, getting a dog (she’s so cute!), going to kenya and starting our language lessons… not to mention the interesting “conference” i took place in yesterday. oh yes. stories will indeed abound soon.

but, i have yet to write a thing. and i apologize for that! it is coming, i promise! (especially as we figure out how the intnernet works… its more difficult than one might realize!)

if you’re on facebook, i’m currently posting a few albums of pictures…as long as they upload before the internet decides to be tired and done for the day… right.

at any rate- a few of you mentioned that the background made it difficult to see the writing without highlighting the text, so i hope the new layout is better!

i PROMISE to write at least one decent sized post this evening and post it as soon as i am able ūüôā

happy thanksgiving to you, if i don’t post before the big day. i can’t say that i have plans, but you never know!

pax.

not to read first

i am posting two entries at the same time. this entry will make a heap-load more sense if you read the one below first!

__

well. i did hear what i did not want to hear. and all parties involved seemed to have survived.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† but this doesn’t mean that i am happy about it.
mostly, i’m not sure what to believe. who is telling the truth or if this entire thing is just a big misunderstanding whose root is just waiting to be uncovered somewhere in the depths of the darkness that is talking about money.

i am hoping, however, that it is indeed just a misunderstanding–and that everything can be sorted out–and that no one is actually lying. which most things point to, so that is indeed a relief.

something that i thought about on the walk back from meeting with her, is that this is part of the journey.
before i left the house i confessed my trepidation about going to meet her–but eventually concluded that this friendship business is a package deal.

            which i already knew.
                        i know that friendship is a package deal, and i have always expected to be in friendships for the good and the bad. for the fun and the frustrating.
                                    but this is a totally new kind of situation to be in in a friendship.

so here i am sorting it out.
            praying about it.
                        wondering about it.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† hoping that things work out for the best–but knowing that sometimes things do not work¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† out for the¬†best.

but also knowing that even if things do not work out for the best (okay so if by “for the best” i mean the way that i wand them to work out…) that god didn’t make it this way. god isn’t holding her back for because she is uganda. god didn’t take money away from her. god didn’t create all of this drama…
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and knowing that god didn’t make it this way is a comfort, odd as that may sound.
                        we live in a broken and sinful world. and this means that we get trampled on sometimes. and that there are things that we cannot fix sometimes. (a lot the time, it seems lately.)

the greatest comfort comes in knowing that regardless of the situation that god is there.
            god is with her when she is struggling to find university fees.
            god is with those who want to sponsor her.
            god is even with those who would be dishonest.
                        what an odd thing to find comforting!
i guess it boils down to knowing that god is there.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and knowing that things aren’t supposed to be this way.
                        that this is not how god created the world to be.
                                    god did not create the world to be broken and full of sin and hurt. and that we were not created to break                                       and hurt one another. that we were not created be hurt and broken in such ways.
                                                the blame, indeed, lies in human hands.
                                                            but regardless of the harm we cause one another, god is there. in the pain and suffering                                                                        and brokenness with us.

on the other hand–this doesn’t fix the problem.
            there is still a shortage of money.
            something has indeed gone awry.
            i cannot fix it.
so i am prone to ask, “oh god, if you are really there, then where the hell are you?”

                                                                                                                          i cannot hold these two things in my head at once.

 

 

 

 

in other, mostly unrelated news:
            we went shopping today for supplies to take up north with us:
general spices, rice, beans, cleaning supplies and such things…
            i also needed to acquire a pillow and kelly needed a blanket.
                        so we went to this shop called game. its mostly like a target, without the food.
                        we were sent in to find 2 pillows (one for patrick in hoima, and one for me in kotido), 2 blankets, a fan and                                     surge protector. what probably could have taken about twenty minutes took an hour. maybe a little more.
finding those stupid pillows was like a wild goose chase!
but we did find them.
            adventures in shopping were had, that is true.

the driver who is driving kelly and i to kotido on monday arrived this afternoon.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† he was traveling by bus yesterday from kotido… he hadn’t even gotten quite half-way here when the bus he was ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† traveling on got stuck in the mud… but he did reach these ends today.
                        he came to the mcc house. we met him. we had tea and pleasantries.
kelly and i were given good advice (not by the driver, but by a country rep) to wear the best under-clothing that we have for that journey…when we say it is a “bit” bumpy on the “roads” that really doesn’t even begin to describe the intensity of jostling around that comes with that.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† so know that when you come to visit. pack well. ūüôā

tomorrow is sunday–so we are going to church. (like you do).
            there are whispers of brunch, which are my favorite kinds of whispers.

tomorrow evening will be spent at the ndere cultural center in ntinda– enjoying music and dances from all around uganda!
i am certainly looking forward to it!

 

please patiently endure my “radio silence” in the next few days (week? weeks?) as kelly and i settle into our home in kotido and find our way around. one of our first missions will be to buy mattresses (i believe we are borrowing some for the first night or so) so that should be an adventure all in itself!

until then.

an old friend, fear

i am having a difficult time deciding what to do about seeing a former student tomorrow…


on the one hand,
i wonder if
i am just nervous
about going out into a part of kampala that i do not know very well
and getting lost,
and being embarrassed.
or
if
i am afraid to get back after dark.
or actually traveling alone¬†somewhere i haven’t been before in kampala…

or

i think that perhaps i am afraid of what she has to say. i am afraid that she is going to ask me for money,¬†money that i don’t have to give her.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and i am afraid that i don’t really know her like i thought i did.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and maybe this is a part of having a cross-cultural friendship…living in this tension of unknowing and¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† nervousness…not knowing what to expect, or even who to ask what can/should be expected in such a ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† situation.

                        i am afraid to be used. i am afraid to be hurt.

                        i am afraid to hurt her.
                        i am afraid to not be who maybe she thinks that i am.
                        i am afraid to be misunderstood, and even more so, to misunderstand.

                                    i am afraid.
                                                            i. am. afraid.

i have been told that something in friendship that i do well is to be vulnerable with my friends, allowing them to not only be vulnerable with me, but also building that sense of trust…or the breaking down of the walls/barriers that we put up in relationships or in life until someone who we let in breaks down part of that wall. (who when we give away a part of that wall.)
            well, frankly, i feel like i was too vulnerable this past year. and spend too much time being frustrated, or sad, or feeling trampled on. and the pain of this year, and the awkwardness that came with that still makes me feel  really tired.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† even though, in looking back, i see the beautiful things that came from this year. newfound friends, renewed friendships and some beautiful shared moments of brokenness and togetherness–it seems… too early?

and so i feel guilty about thinking about this potential reunion quite so much.
            because i do love her dearly and like a sister.
            and i do want to do the hard work of being a good friend and sister to/with gloria.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and i do want to work at this cross-cultural friendship, not because its cross-cultural, but because she’s her.

                        however.
                                                            however.
                                                                                                however.

            am i being selfish?
            is that a good thing? 
              (i suppose this question presupposes that i do feel like i am being selfish. so, take that for what you will.)

            is that a bad thing?
                        (perhaps i am just trying to rationalize it not being selfish so i do not have to feel guilty?)

i didn’t learn this in seminary.
i didn’t learn this doing a psychology degree.
i didn’t learn this in akron orientation.
and thus far i haven’t learned it in uganda.

(granted, i also haven’t asked anyone about this. or talked with anyone about this. with the exception of telling a¬†country rep that i was hoping that this student wouldn’t be one like that…but then shrugging my shoulders and walking¬†away… missed opportunity? yes. i know.

someone hand me the answer.
someone tell me what to do.
and if you would, please make it the answer i want to hear.

jet lag and a little delay

so i actually wrote this post a little over a day ago…¬† happy reading!

 

be ye warned- this post has been written after traveling from akron, pa to washington d.c. (that began at 2:30 a.m. eastern standard time)…then flying from d.c. to rome, staying on the plane for an hour while the crew changed over, flying to addis ababa, ethopia for a 1.5 hour layover, then flying to entebbe, uganda…waiting around for our driver, being driven an hour to the house where we had tea and conversation, showers and dinner and some radio listening…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† all this to say: if it don’t make sense. it ain’t my fault.

 

i’ve never met anyone named naomi before.
i have met women who are naomi-like in their spirit, or in their way of living their life…but never an actual naomi.

i was on the plane between d.c. and rome, and we were actually getting ready to land when i made a last-minute leisurely jaunt to the back lavatory to stretch my legs and such. but naomi, true to her name sake, followed me. (i know its a bit of a theological stretch, but stick with me.)

both of the lavatories were occupied so i was standing with naomi. i didn’t know she was naomi yet, i just knew that she had sort of jumped up rather quickly when i passed her in the aisle… she quickly introduced herself at the back, saying that she had talked to kelly in the line to get on the plane and was pretty sure that i was who she was traveling with. (in case you are wondering, she was correct.)

she began to tell me about the trip that she is¬† embarking on–a two week jaunt through rwanda on a photo-journalistic tour. she is very interested in reconciliation, and peace–and was also quick to point out that she is jewish, but a believer. (it strikes me as delightful and quite interesting that¬† a jew by heritage who is a christian who is interested in peace and reconciliation would be called naomi…a woman who was going home to be with her people.)

we talked about rwanda, the genocide and the reconciliation after and since…i shared some of my experiences in rwanda, some things i read, some stories i heard and some things that i had seen. naomi told me what she could remember of their itinerary and that she was ready to get there and start hearing stories.

so this woman, naomi, who taught photo-journalism and has published for christian century, took interest in the three of us traveling to uganda—in our taking in being with another people.

“your people shall be my people, and your god shall be my god…”

so this woman, who i conversed with for probably less than twenty minutes, got me thinking about being with people, about being like naomi. (and at the same time being like ruth–because perhaps one can only truly ascribe to be at least a little like both of these women–on the one hand wanting/needing to go home to one’s people-and at the same time, adopting or being absorbed into another people and culture…)

“where ere you go, i will go. where ere you lodge, i will lodge. where ere you die, i will die.
your people shall be my people, your god shall be my god…”

so currently, as i am sitting in the country-representatives house in kampala, uganda; i have the story of naomi’s going home to her people, the adoption of naomi’s home by ruth, and john wesley’s statement that “the world is my parish” going through my head. it is a lot to hold together at one time. it is indeed a lot to hold together when one has jet lag, is moving to a brand new place, learning a new language and being on the brink of having a new president (wahoo!) during this amazing and historic election…

i think some psalm recitations will follow this post, while we are still in the capital being orientated/oriented (take your choose)¬† and the internet access is much more reliable and…you know…close at hand. and maybe even some exegetical notebook-type work on the lectionary readings for the week.

it seems fitting…

this morning i attended a sweet little united methodist church here in akron, pa.

it was a “typical” small town congregaton, the median age was around sixty-something and the congergation was small-ish in numbers.

but it was all-saints-sunday.
which, if nothing else, connotes eucharist.
and this, my friends, makes me very happy.

i found myself sitting in a pew alone, but surrounded in front and behind with happy, warm and welcoming members of zion united methodist church.¬† they introduced themselves to me and gave their versions of “you aren’t from round here, are ya?” as a polite way of beginning a conversation.

during the Great Thanksgiving, the woman behind me noticed that i was not holding the print-out of the all saints version that the pastor was leading. assuming that i did not have one and therefore did not know what was going on, she went out into the narthex and retrieved it for me.
she passed it over my shoulder and whispered “this is whats going on, sweetie.”

i thanked her, took the paper and held it in my hands as we continued the eucharistic portion of the service.
(she later realized that i just knew the responses and attempted to apologize. we had a nice little moment of me thanking her for her kindness and hospitality…she graciously accepted my acceptance of *her* hospitality. ūüôā )

the sermon was on love.
and living a saintly life.
couldn’t have been a better topic if i’d have asked for one.

after the service the pastor (john g. smith) made it a point to speak with me. (being the one of two visitors today…) we spoke for a few minutes before it came out that i was leaving for uganda the very next morning (thats in a few short hours for those of you keeping track at home…)

this is when he decided that the church needed to keep in contact with me, and he directed me to the lady who is in charge of the guest book. she instructed me to “very neatly” write down my name and address so that they can stay in contact with me.

thankfully this is the 21st century, and i was able to retrieve the email from gann with our address in it… otherwise they would have been quite confused about sending mail to liberty, missouri for it to reach kotido, uganda!

but, all in all, it seems rather fitting that i ended up at zion united methodist chruch this morning.
with good methodist christians.
the eucharist.
and a sermon on saintly living.

it just seems fitting, indeed.

keep your ears and eyes open–the next post will be coming live from the motherland of uganda!

don’t forget to VOTE!