Walking Upstream

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“Pulling drowning people out of a river is compassion. Justice is walking upstream to solve the reasons they are falling in.” Dave Batstone

My trip to Uganda is a mission in justice.  So much of what I do is compassion based.  And while that’s been satisfying and has taught me a lot about loving and serving others, I’ve longed for more.   Short term mission trips frequently educate and expose people to some sort of injustice, but rarely does the trip change the life of the people who are experiencing the injustice.   I think that compassion is “easier” because we usually get to pat ourselves on the back for “saving” someone.   We like to feel good about ourselves and the ability to help someone. The work of justice is frequently quiet work.  Work where the “saving” is without a someone.   It’s changing the future so that you no longer have to respond to the current crisis…because it ceases to exist.  

This trip to Uganda is about justice.  We won’t be hanging out with little children, falling in love with their smiles and their joy with the simplest of life’s pleasures. And our hearts won’t be breaking while hearing their stories of life and what we take for granted.  And while I long to be a part of their stories and love them something fierce, I’m choosing to do it differently.   I’m going to file paperwork.  Dusty, dirty, dank, and unorganized paperwork for 10 hour days.   And while my heart will be broken for the widows who went before and weren’t able to get their property rights restored, my heart will leap for joy for those who come after and are able to keep their property….I’ll be upstream, celebrating that the work downstream will have less people to pull from the river.

 

Africa

New IJM field office Gulu

I’m going to Uganda.  With IJM.   My wildest dreams are coming true.  And I’m terrified.  Overwhelmed.   Anxious.  Not Sleeping.  But oh am I dreaming.

struggle bus

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There are times when you hear a word or phrase and it just sticks with you.   It seems to express exactly what you are feeling or thinking at that moment.   Tonight, it was “struggle bus”.   I feel like a bought a one way ticket on this damn bus.   While there is much to be thankful for in my life, at times I get fairly frustrated with the ride. 

Communication with the Bear is a constant struggle bus.  For both of us.   When we got engaged and had to take a compatability test, it was our major issue.   Not much has changed since then.  Bear is a hot head.  And I’m patient until I’m not….and then I’m really not.

Work is a struggle bus.   I need to figure out if I’m supposed to go to Uganda with IJM and I’m struggling.   (I realize that most would think I was crazy)  Today this strategic planner told a group of us that it’s irrational to think of our employment as permanent.  That we should never think that we are going to stay at one place for a long period of time/the rest of our lives.   WTW (what the world)!?!?!? I mean really.   I thrive on security.   I like to think that my employment will end when I’m done with it…not when someone thinks its time for me to move on…even if it’s because they think I’ve outgrown my current position.   I mean really.   Who ever wants to be let go?? But I also think about leaving my job frequently.   See, struggle bus!  How do you ever even know what to do with the rest of your life?  How do you decide who you are??

In the midst of my bus ride, I’m thankful that I have good friends that love me and are happy to ride with me to the next stop.   I’m not alone on the bus, that’s for sure.   These fellow riders give me energy, faith, and constant affirmation that I’m going to make it.   Even if I’m on the bus.   Or at the bus stop.