Monday, July 14, 2014

Being A Misfit

A few weeks ago I had to get fitted for a respirator for my new job.  At the doctor's office I had the following conversation with a nurse.

Nurse: What is your race?
Me: What are the options?
Nurse: African American, Mexican American, and Caucasian.
Me: .... None of those apply.
Nurse: So what is your race?
Me: I usually choose Latina or Hispanic. Is "other" an option?
Nurse: No.
Me: Can you leave it blank?
Nurse. No, it is required to continue with the test.

In the end, I let the nurse make a choice after I explained to her my background. I'm really not even sure which she chose since she looked at how her choice impacted the results of my baseline lung capacity test.  With only those three options, A LOT of people were excluded.  My background isn't even that complex, and I couldn't figure out what to choose.

Checking a box on a form seems like a simple thing, but not having a option to choose can make you feel like a misfit and out of step with the norm.  I have grown to embrace and really even love many of the things that make me a misfit.  However, in a season of trying to navigate lots of transition, I appreciate moments when things make sense and when I feel like I fit.  One of those moments was being reunited with many former teammates as we celebrated John and Jenn's marriage. We misfit together.  =)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Three Years Ago

On July 9th, 2011, I rejoiced. It was a distinct privilege to be in South Sudan on its very first independence day dancing, praying, and celebrating with a new nation.

I danced upon injustice with men and women from many different tribes united in their joy.

I heard a dear friend share a scripture for a new nation urging the country to have hope and rebuild on the strong foundation left by the church in South Sudan. 

Job 14:7-9

“At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant."

Only three years later, the Fund for Peace named South Sudan the world's most fragile state.  The BBC reports that 4 million will face critical food shortages in the next month.  By many accounts, the development gains made by the new nation over the last 8 years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 have been lost in the space of less than 8 months. 

The reality of how much has changed in so short a time grieves my heart. Yet I know that the hope I had on South Sudan's independence day is unchanged.  I have hope because my Savior defeated death, because of the power of the Cross.  And I know that there are many faithful South Sudanese Christians proclaiming the Gospel of Peace even now as they face new trials.  So I still pray boldly and ask that you also continue to pray.

Jennifer shared this prayer on her blog and I will echo it here.  

"Please pray for God's peace in East Africa. Meaning real peace, real dealing with fear, protective reprisals, greed, hate. Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda all need the Gospel that breaks down dividing walls of hostility, that gives people true harmony in diversity as the many tribes reflect God's infinite complexity and yet also God's trinitarian unity."