trying to pull together thoughts from tonight.
earlier today, i was consumed earlier with a piece of melodrama inside my own head.
this week, ironically, has been great. i’ve had a wonderfully full week of catching up with friends, having sparkling conversation over lunch or coffee, depending on the day of the week. i’ve melted into jovial circles of people enjoying the taste of beer or the smoke of a pipe as we said our farewells to friends bound for foreign countries. i’ve laughed over romantic comedies; i’ve jostled other people over video game controllers as we try to rescue the princess once again; i’ve enjoyed multiple glasses of wine and good food and good conversation; i’ve created and strummed and sung and had emotional catharsis; i’ve been reunited with jack, my favorite terrorist killer from one of my favorite television shows. if anything, this past week has been a microcosm of the spectacularly unbelievable grace of which i’ve been a recipient.
i’ve felt grateful, joyful and unbelievably content this entire week.
despite all my past involvement with missions and orphans and street kids, for some reason, i didn’t let the news of the earthquake sink into my awareness in any way. i’ve tweeted about it, i’ve emailed friends who are involved with mission work in haiti, i’ve donated some funds, i’ve acknowledged the suffering, and shaken my head sympathetically at the horror and tragedy.
but it still seemed like statistics. i’ve felt removed and disconnected from the emotional reality of it.
that all changed tonight.
at status tonight, two young men spoke about their experiences in haiti since this past tuesday. they were working in an orphanage outside of port-au-prince when the earthquake hit. they stood on the stage and told their story. and slowly, the reality of what had happened in haiti started to unravel before my eyes. i could smell the stench of death as they described driving through port-au-prince, surrounded by stacks of dead bodies. i could feel the terror and confusion and shock in the tears of young orphans and street children. i could see the emptiness in the shocked, listless stares of the people trying to make sense of the destruction. the pain became real to me, not just hypothetical.
the piece of melodrama inside my head seemed to vaporize, swallowed up by the immense suffering of a million voices crying out to jesus for help, for aid, for anything.
this is a time for prayer, for listening, for action, for compassion. i am sick and tired of allowing apathy and inaction and indecisiveness and self-absorption and overanalysis to dictate the rhythms of my day-to-day. i realize sanctification is a lifelong process but i am recognizing more and more that i am being drawn into the fray, into the action and i can no longer ignore the throbbing, the fire that has been burning for quite sometime now. i feel God increasingly dismantling me, exponentially over the past few months and i am scared to death and excited and lately it feels like life is constantly spinning out of control but that’s because it IS, but it’s my control that it’s spinning out of and it ought to. because God is ultimately the one in control.
tonight, i remembered a scene from elie wiesel’s haunting novel “night.” wiesel witnesses the evil of innocent people being mass murdered, most horrifically on the gallows. upon seeing innocent people swinging from the gallows, a bitter voice cries out in anguish “where is god?” and someone replies, “he is there. on the gallows.”
for some, i know they think god is dead. or at least indifferent or powerless. or maybe even a monster.
but for me, that scene has always meant that god is indeed on the gallows, but only because he is suffering right along with the people. i believe that christ is never more real and more present than among people that are suffering deep and unspeakable pain.
i have no answers; i don’t think anybody does.
but for now, i want to pray and listen and be ready to act at any given moment.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.