Thus I've committed myself, thus my life will follow through. Sounds weighty, no? Let me be the first to confirm that it certainly is. And in case anyone was wondering, that's not Ghandi in the picture above (although I am starting to see a resemblance). It's Dr.Tony Campolo, who gave a lecture to our class.
I have just returned from my first residency at Eastern University in their Urban Studies graduate program. And I have to admit, I feel kind of depressed. Some of it is sheer exhaustion. Up early for long class hours, in-depth discussions, information overload. My special circumstance of being so far away added travel time and pressure. Plus on top of that there's getting to know people face-to-face I've only ever known on the Blackboard site… remembering names, assigning cues for me to take note of personalities, trying to fit in. That, in itself, was the biggest fear of all. It still gnaws at me. I will be re-playing conversations and my responses to them for years to come, re-working them all so I sound quasi-human. And I have 3 more residencies to do! Ah, fear… the terror of you.
Having said that, I was finally among people who 'talked like me'… and people who didn't talk like me & made me feel extremely uncomfortable. African-Americans, Latinas, Asians, Caucasians, mix-ups (my word for those of us with a bunch of everything thrown in); students from upper-class places, middle-class, lower class, "the 'hood"; people struggling to effect change towards racism, poverty, trafficking, sexuality, and more. All of us poor students passionate about being Jesus in daily life. I gorged myself — literally feasted — at this bountiful table of wisdom, compassion, vision, and circumstance.
And now I'm back.
I wish. No wait… no, I don't. Camp highs when they plummet can really suck.
As the days of studying together drew to a close, I felt that dark weight of depression settling upon me knowing I had to come back to Lac La Biche. Alone. And here I am. Alone. At least, that's how it feels right now. Pretty bleak. Permit me one moment of frustration… this place is remote and distant. It is home but it is a faraway home.
But the impetus for being the change in our communities does not end with residency. The tough thing of it is: I have to keep going. Alone or with a like-minded companion(s), we all have to take what we have been given and live it. Not just putting any old concept into practice (trying to reconcile racially segregated African-Amerincs with Caucasians might be somewhat of moot point up here!), but deliberately choosing to be who we want to see in the world around us.
We all cannot be everything. We all cannot be together all the time. We can, however, choose to move through the dark night of the soul and reflect the power of the Light. Some days… many days, actually… I throw my hands up in despair at what I'm actually doing here at the edge of the world. But if the Light all moved away from the dark places or chose not to seek out other sources of Light it has not yet seen, we would all plunge into darkness.
Jesus missed His Father. He missed His place at the right hand of God. Innately, we miss our true place with God as well. In this, I ache for the brothers and sisters who ardently and fervently hash out the stuff no one else wants to talk about, who choose to try and understand what many Christians refuse to, and above all: serve. In justice and mercy, they serve.
Boy we're a messy lot. As one beautiful classmate put it: we are the Island of Misfit Toys. (Boy do I love that picture!)
But we are the change you will see in this world.
Brave the dark.
Come join us.