this was actually composed the week after thanksgiving, but i haven’t had access to internet since then… hopefully more to come sooner than two weeks out… and i promise, the next one will include pictures of the dog 😉
thanksgiving, misgiving…its all the same to me
i can hardly believe that it is december. i am sitting near my office (its locked, and i don’t have a key yet. meh) in the hot 80something degree heat wondering if six liters of water a day is too much… and i cannot believe that it’s december. that it is advent, and that christmas is merely twenty-four days away. it boggles my mind!
thanksgiving came and passed this thursday, and could have almost gone unnoticed or uncelebrated but thanks to family and friends it did not.
i must confess it was delightful to celebrate thanksgiving in a way that was devoid of commercialism and hype. or as a fabulous friend amazingly put it in a “horrible capitalist patriotic ‘this is what we called christian’ missionary enterprise horrible way.” well said, dear, well said. instead, i was able to just be thankful for my friends and family, which was quite nice.
dinner consisted of some curried veggies and something that resembled pizza (which was surprisingly good). to celebrate fully i decided to not consome any matooke…
i was thankful for my friends and family i was gathered with (some new, some less new), for those friends and family members who were far away. a lot of my family gathered together and called via skype. i thought the original plan was to have two or three at a time talk, but instead they all gathered around at one time.
gann walked by where i was sitting and asked how many more people i had to talk to, and i explained that everyone had gathered around the around the computer together. and then she commented, “you aren’t doing any of the talking!” and i just said, “i know!” and then. she laughed. and i don’t blame her! i believe at that moment my family was busy discussing the arrival and unfortunate nature of the japanese beetle. dad asked, “can you hear the conversation going on now?” my reply? “yes, its riviting.” more laughter. i’m glad i could provide some laughs for those i love. right.
(alisha! thanks for calling! believe it or not, my network in karamoja is better than kampala… who knew!?)
this week i spent a lot of time thinking about what i am thankful for, which i have been trying to make a daily habit rather than a seasonal one, but do tend to ponder more around this time of year. like, i was really really thankful on saturday when i found COKE ZERO in mbale. AND it was IN A CAN. it was like christmas, easter, being at a duke basketball game, performing handel’s messiah, and my birthdayall rolled into a magical moment in time!!
something that i have thought of before, but hadn’t exactly sunk in all the way perhaps, is how thankful i am for having the space and privilage to discern my vocational calling. i had the time, space and borrowed money to discern it all through college, and even more time, space and borrowed money to ponder it through my education at duke as well. though a lot of it was very stressful and some down-right dirty, i need to be more honest with myself (and others!) about the priviladge and responsibility that comes with.
i struggle with what people expect me to be and how they expect me to act, especially here in uganda, where i am not just educated–but have a skin-tone that suggests priviladge. and i suppose, in a way it does, as i noted before.
so during this time of thankfulness, i do have some misgivings… some hesitations…
i wonder how much those misgivings and hesitations hold me back in relationships with peopel–and how much potential those hesitations have to keep me from kissing the joy as it flies. if i hesitate, i shall miss it, and it shall fly away. my prayer during this first week of advent is that we bind ourselves to a Joy. or better yet The Joy.
that isn’t to say that i dont’ struggle with some things some people say about being always thankful. there are just some situations that i see around me that i, personally, have a hard time being thankful for. i suppose i should reframe how i think about somethings.
like those people who stand in long lines for world food program food… instead of dwelling on the fact that for them to eat, they have to stand in line for WFP food maybe i should think “oh isn’t it wonderful that WFP is here to help.” but i have a sneaky suspicion that a witty ethics professor would say something about living in the tension. about not finding the answers, but living inbetween the answers.
and so that is what i try to do in this time of thanksgiving and misgiving. being thankful for the things and people i have to be thankful for, but not to the point that i forget the tension. and that the world just isn’t how it should be.
bind ourselves to The Joy, indeed.
funny how that makes me more uncomfortable than comforted.
and funny how i feel i should dwell in that discomfort than comfort.
oh jesus, how you have ruined me.
may we be ruined together this holiday season.