Monday, April 7, 2014

There is a time for everything...

I've been reading Ecclesiastes a lot lately, 
camping out there, 
reveling in the simple language of the Message translation.

I love the Message, because it's straight forward, 
not preachy- churchy,
just common words.

To some,
Ecclesiastes may read like a real downer,
as if a sad, 
depressed, kill-joy wrote words, 
from a nihilistic mind set.

But I love Ecclesiastes.
It's Real
 Harsh at times
Full of Life

The famous third chapter is nothing but reality.

There is a time for everything...
Make love...Abstain
Search...Count your losses
Hold on...Let go
Rip out...Mend
Shut up...Speak up
Wage war...Make peace

My husband works for a Christian non-profit that serves in East Africa.  
Sixteen years ago I was able to join him
serving the poorest of the poor,
walking the dusty roads of Uganda,
learning about another culture,
the people,
their way of life.

But once our son was born, 
and once he was diagnosed with cancer
I stayed home.

I had no desire to go back,
I survived,
I cared for my son,
I healed,
I struggled,
I nurtured my daughters,
I grieved,
I served the childhood cancer world.

But there is a time for everything...

And I will be heading back to Uganda this June,
 once again to serve the poorest of the poor, 
to learn and grow,
to embrace my friends there,
to see how the ministry has grown.

This opportunity caught me by surprise,
somewhere along the way,
my heart had changed,
my mind had opened,
 and the time was right.

As I've been reading through Ecclesiastes, 
I've  hovered over the words of Ecclesiastes 7 verses 2, 3 and 4.

2 You learn more at a funeral than at a feast--
After all, that's where we'll end up.
We might discover something from it.

3 Crying is better than laughing.
It blotches the face, but scours the heart.

4 Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving.
Fools waste their lives in fun and games.

And that's what I've been doing these last sixteen years. 

I've attended many funerals,  
most of them children.

My heart has been scoured by millions of tears.

I have invested in hurt and grieving
as I've walked along side others in their grief,
as I too have grieved,
hand in hand,
layer upon layer,
heart to heart. 

I see now God has been preparing me to go back,
to walk the streets of the Katwe slums,
to dig in the rich red dirt of the Koro property garden,
in Gulu, 
to attend the children who hurt and grieve,
 whose hearts have been scoured,
by their tears from forced war, 
by hungry bellies,
by abandonment.

To embrace them,
to feed them,
to serve them.

Just as Jesus did.

To be human,
just as Jesus was.