28 November 2008

This is home

I've realized that home isn't a place - it's people. I don't miss my house; I miss my family. I feel safer under my father's roof than when I'm surrounded by security forces, fences, and gates. My mom's cooking is much better than the chow hall, and my brother makes a better roommate than anyone...

24 November 2008

Home


"I am ready to go home... I'm packin' my bags and I'm hittin' the road."

These past coupla days, those lyrics from Shawn McDonald have been echoing through my head. I haven't been home since late June, and even then only for two nights between mission trip and basic.

And I'm pumped: I can't wait to see my family and friends. And home cookin'... oh, home cookin'.

But there's something else there, too. I don't think it's strong enough to call it apprehension, but it's there. I wonder what things back home have changed.I wonder how much I've changed.

The fact is, I'm growing up, and I'm not sure I like it. Gone are the days when I stood in the garden in nothing but a diaper, a curious look on my face and a wiffle ball in my hand. Here are the days when I stand in uniform, a serious look on my face and hand raised in salute.

"Time
is a wheel in constant motion,
always rolling us along.
Tell me who
wants to look back on their youth and wonder
where those years have gone?"*

I'm content with where they've gone - and excited for where they're going.

* "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack

20 November 2008

Aliens

Laying in bed last night thinking, I had to get up and write this.

I once talked to a Christian man with very strong political beliefs. The conversation turned to immigration, and he complained about how "the Mexicans" come into our country and refuse to learn our language.

But I am reminded of a scripture: "[God] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." - Deuteronomy 10:18

Are we loving the aliens as God does? Are we giving them food and clothing? Or are we expecting them to conform to our society, the very society that was built on diversity? Some may say they don't deserve the benefits of the society if they refuse to assimilate.

Then we don't deserve anything either. For although God has a brought us into a new land, full of grace, we often prefer to stay in our own, self-controlled land. In this land, we are aliens.

"And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt." - Deuteronomy 10:19

13 November 2008

Decimals, pies, and zebras

Kaiao, Mike, and I went to the refugee's house again tonight - I fell asleep on the way there, since it was already dark. But I woke up to change into civies and stayed awake for the rest of the time. I brought up the pointlessness of Daylight Savings Time - a topic which had apparently been discussed at length while I slept.

When we arrived at the house, the Jehovah's witness ladies were there, and this time, a teenage girl was with them, helping the kids with homework, trying to explain to Pascal what decimals and rounding was. A graphic showing full bars and bars .9 of their height helped; I worked with him from there. It was difficult for him to see 3.9 as one number and not '3' and '9.' It took me a while to explain the difference between a decimal point and a raised dot used to indicate multiplication, but once he figured that out, we were home free.

Which meant we practiced English vocabulary - something he was very good at. When we got to the food section, we made frequent trips to the kitchen to point at what we were talking about: apparently there are no cherries or pears or - gasp! - pies in Burundi. So next time, I'll have to bring them a pie. It's Thanksgiving, all. And Pascal did know what 'gasp' meant. The man deserves a pie.

But when we got to animals, he knew exactly what zebras were. I asked him if he'd seen them in Africa, and he gave me a look like "Of course, you silly American." And lions and giraffes.

He had another opportunity to give me the 'silly American' look: ice skating. Since there's no ice in Burundi, I explained how we strap blades on our boots and slide around on the ice. I mean, when you think about, it is pretty silly.

But, silliness aside, there's something deeper here: this family had no time for ice skating or pies or even decimals. They had more important things to worry about. Namely, staying alive. They couldn't survive with distractions.

Can we?

05 November 2008

New Commander

There's an awful lot of consternation here over the election results: most conservative cadets don't really like the idea of a liberal president. And most Christians don't like the idea of one either, for reasons good and bad.

But, to me, it's not that big of an issue. On January 20th, he'll be my Commander in Chief, and I will back him, "for there is no authority except that which God has established... Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted." - Romans 13:1-2

And there is nothing to worry about: our hope is not in any human leader, but in God himself.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. - Hebrews 6:19