The nature of battle

I can't really explain what is going on with me right now, except that it is deep and swimmy and a little froggy. Does that help? I am encouraged and overwhelmed all at once.

Maybe I can just let you know some factoids. Sketch a little picture, so that you can put it together.

I drove some of my friends to the airport yesterday. We drove down to Sacramento on Saturday, then I dropped them off at the curb early Monday morning. It's the first step to them moving away from the Land, which makes me very sad. I'm happy for them, but sad for me. Yesterday, as I was sitting at another friend's cafe, my sadness punched me in the gut when she said, "this is good for them, hey"? and I laid my head on her bar counter and cried. I wanted to pull myself together, only there seemed to be nothing to pull together. Over the last two years I have lived through a slow attrition of a community that was tighter than anything I've ever been part of, (I'm being starkly honest here) and though we have hope of rebuilding, it is hard to say goodbye to people when you've seen each other married, give birth, walked through foreign corridors together...

I feel as though pieces of me are trickling away, as people move away. I invested too much in my friends, I guess. I don't know how to grieve this properly, I waver between hope and belief and bitterness and a kind of flinging my hands around my head.

It is NOT all about me. I know. This is about a whole village, the movement and shape of a group of people who have grown and walked together, and I see God's shape in it. He is a great orchestrator, an author. Our stories continue. But, I feel hurt. I feel left alone, out here in the woods, where the trees are always tall, where light is green and golden, alternately. I go back and forth, reminding myself of all that I have to be thankful for, and then feeling forgotten and used up.

So. That is one thing.

Another? Well, I have these kids, see, and I know that you know that. But, boy. I love them to death, and I'm also feeling a little overwhelmed by how much they need me. An ebb, if you will. I know you understand.

Also? God is reawakening my heart for the world. Seeing that speech of Bono's happened at a pretty key time for me. Everything seems centered around this. All my conversations, the things I stumble across on the web. The major things that come out of it are the extreme need of the poor and at-risk kids and adults of the world, and the responsibility of the rest of us. I am convinced that our culture has become more and more frivolous at a direct ratio to the needs in the rest of the world, and I wonder if people simply don't know how to help, or can't understand the enormity of what is going on. I read one statistic of a predicted 20 million children being left orphans by AIDS by the year 2010.

I was thinking of some sort of art project about this, and when I asked Chinua how long it would take me to paint 20 million dots, he figured out that if I painted five dots a second, for 24 hours a day, non-stop, it would take me over THREE YEARS. (!!!) Gasp. Choke. Sputter. How can this be?

What's interesting to me is that the Bible is so completely full of directives to help the poor and oppressed, and it is clear that that last part of Bono's speech is true. God's heart is completely with them. I am mulling and chewing on what I can do. It makes me feel a little as though I will split in two, but I've been encouraged that it is God who is putting this together, especially after talking with several friends who have had the same wind blowing on them.

I have also been encouraged by my friends, heroes of mine who have realized that part of their reason for being here is making choices that give to people around them. While I was in Sacramento, I had the privilege of meeting the new baby girl of some friends of mine. They've been waiting for her for awhile, having decided to adopt their third child, and she came home with them a little over a week ago.  She's precious, like a rose, and it's lovely beyond words that they have found her and she has found them.

Another friend of mine has been building into her community for a while now, almost a year, through the ownership of a cafe in Sacramento which supports local businesses and economy. (When you check out the link, check out the rest of the LJUrban site, they're pretty sweet.) She's also the kind of friend that I would keep in my sleeves if I could, but alas.

Bits and pieces, I know.  I guess to wrap up I would say that I see people moving in the kind of ways that are like shadow puppets on the wall, like the something more beautiful than they are. Adopting is beautiful, but there are still diapers. Running a cafe that refuses to make its money off of other people's suffering is heroic, but there are still those bills needing to be paid. What I'm saying, I guess, is that revolution is made of many sacrifices.  All of those sacrifices together build something larger than themselves (is that called synergy?) and fling themselves into the face of a great and pervasive evil that broods across our culture, an evil of selfishness.  It's the evil I face everyday when I don't feel like taking care of others, when I want to sink into laziness. If a battle is going to be fought against injustice, it seems like it begins with the same motions that cause us to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of a sick child. Why do we do it?  Because they mean so much to us, because they're our family.

I think we need to expand our family a little.