-service -humility -pride -mentorship -friendships -hard stuff -psalms -discipleship -my sister -my mother -what is Shalom anyway? -transition -people...just people-stories -implicated -the green enters greentree
As you all know, although I am not the best writer on this OTHER side of the Mississippi (p.s. I now currently reside in St Louis, MO) I do enjoy it none-the-less. It helps me to process the many things running through my ADD mind day in and day out; it offers me a chance to clearly think things through, share it with friends and family in hopes that people may see the things I see - whether they like it or not.
After taking Steve Garber's class last spring one major thing I learned about it this: there is something truly remarkable and life-impacting about the human story. We all want it, need it, crave it, desire it, and find great fulfillment from it. How often are we listening to the stories of others and allowing it to affect us? There is something about the human story that helps us to see more clearly: ourselves, each other, and God. We remember far more stories than we do lesson on physics and chemistry... I'm just sayin'...
Just yesterday, upon our arrival to St Louis and I, my sister Eva and I wanted to visit my wonderful godmother Norma. While meeting with her and enjoying a scrumptious homemade milanese meal, she wanted to introduce us to two of her friends: Blanca and Rosa. Blanca did not know much english but no language was needed to know exactly how much she cared for us from afar. Norma has been a part of our family for so long and loves to share her family with her friends. It was lovely to meet her friends who have heard all about us over the past year: "stranger" would be the exact opposite word that they would use to describe us. After meeting Blanca and her grandchild and great-grandchild via picture gallery in her humble home, we walked over to see Rosa.
This amazingly talented seamstress has been such a good friend to Norma and it is easy to see how well Norma has loved her friend back. She first offered us watermelon and proceeded to extend her wishes and condolences for my mother who currently is recovering from breast cancer and most recently, a mastectomy. A woman who only knows us through story had the heart to cry and pray for our mother. Makes me weak to think about it - my heart melted. She proceeded to share with us her story of visiting her son and his newborn, leaving Iran for what she thought was a month, and due to government tension and conflicts back home, she was not allowed to return to Iran. She lost everything and everyone she loved back home and sacrificed it all to help her son take care of his children. This happened 26 years ago and she continues to weep over the loss of the life she once had.
When leaving my super awesome godmother; after kisses, hugs, and guarantees of a return visit, I began to think about how much I have gained and missed this past year. I wish I knew Rosa's story earlier so that I could love and support her. I wish that the last few times Norma visited DC that I wasn't so incredibly busy. I thought about Blanca and what a sweet tender heart she has for her grandchildren - even though there is a huge language barrier between them, she loves them so deeply. I do not regret this year, but as I described to Eva as we were on this road trip, I feel like I am recovering from this past fellows year. I am waking up to these realizations that I in fact missed A LOT and I am now trying to regain my footing.
I want to hear more stories. I am becoming weary of my own right now and I want to hear about others. My story is just unfolding now... I've shared it all year - I am ready for yours.
Granted, a million amazing things happened this year. But where there is gain, there is also loss. "With great power comes great responsibility" rings true the more and more I think about it. With the ability to do much, learn much, experience much, the more we take on a responsibility to also care for these things, invest in these things, and share these things with others. I am not sure if that makes sense to you right now, but it is sure looking good on my end. We are a part of a greater story and each individual story means something in the grand scheme of things. As my "little sister" and mentee recently tweeted:
Everyone has a story. Ask them about it...
That's about all for the night. Just some thoughts that I cannot shake at the moment. Stay in touch - I know I will try.
Until next time....