this question, “what are you bringing me/us?” is one that has been posed to me very infrequently in all of my travels. (for this i am extremely grateful, for what that’s worth.) but recently it was asked of me in a much more profound way than someone suggesting that they wanted a little trinket or bobble from some ‘exotic’ place. the one asking the question was a part of my district committee in texas–that group of people who interview, pray and discern with those seeking ordination in the united methodist church. he didn’t mean t-shirts.
in the moment i was caught off guard, this was not a question that i had prepared an answer to. (unlike when i was asked “what can we do for you?” and i had thought about it, but still had no answer other than “um? pray.”) i floundered. i said, “humm…” and then offered an answer that i do not remember several months later.
not remembering has nothing to do with if the answer was honest or not, but more to do with the laborious pondering that has gone into this question since that first asking. at first i found myself slightly offended by the question and reported as such to my friend A. being the good friend that she is, she pushed back and asked why i would be offended–suggesting that maybe i felt offended because i didn’t want to think about the end of my contract and going back to The States–that perhaps i was not really “offended” but trying not to engage.
as A tends to be: she was right. after this conversation the decision was made to truly ponder what it is i am bringing “home” (“home” in quotes as it is another subject for another day).
here i want to reflect on a few of the gifts/insights/learnings i am bringing home to share. this is not an all encompassing list, there are still rather large things to suss-out–an inner pilgrimage of reflection that will continue far longer than the visible “transition time” between uganda and the united states–but this is the foundation. the foundation for more discerning and discovering, for bigger dreams and holy-spirit-movings.
there are 5 broad topics that i am going to touch on in 5 blog posts. the aim is to post one every week for five weeks. this could be the plan that is adhered to or not. (there really is just no way of knowing.) all 5 will go up, in this order probably with other things inbetween (like the post i’m working on about visiting the garden and those posts i never finished from ethiopia annnnd that whole independance of south sudan i attended. those too…)
the 5 will be easily spotted with their themed pre-moniker : foundations
1) foundations: living simply & in community
2) foundations: working with and within limited resources (stoking creativity)
3) foundations: meeting people where they are
4) foundations: being an ex-pat/living outside my home culture
5) foundations: development-living in an area highly populated with ngo/cbos/helping organizations