U-C: What I See

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Checking in after a break


Although I've been quiet on the blog, this has been a busy couple of weeks for me. During October, I was able to spend two weeks at home with family and back at work with my colleagues at BorderLinks. I'm discovering that this is going to be the real challenges of juggling the responsibilities and opportunities of being the moderator of the General Assembly with the important work of the borderlands and of being a husband and a father.

Here are a couple of random thoughts from my hiatus:

First, I have ideas about some more substantive topics that I will try to write about over the coming week or so. I haven't felt free to do so while I've been focusing on catching up on hundreds of emails that had built up while I traveled for a month. The great news is that the computer tech staff in Louisville reformatted my entire computer and for the first time since the General Assembly, I feel prepared to function and communicate as I travel.

Second, the fiscal year Oct 1 2003 to Sept 30 2004 is over, and the death count of migrants who lost their lives crossing the border this year is in. Once again, for the ninth straight year, the number has gone up - this time to 221 people that we know of, just in the state of Arizona. This during a year in which immigration officials promised that they would "seal" the border and solve this problem (something they have claimed every year for some time). I know that we don't all believe the same thing about immigration, but is does seem to me that at least in the church, we should be able to agree that this number is a sin, and that something must be done about it. I continue to believe that it is the role of the church to point the way toward a new kind of community and a new understanding of borders to match the global economy.

Third, our family lost our companion of twelve years, Cholla the do, last week. I mention it not to be maudlin or over dramatic, but because the night we had her put to sleep, I wept in the rain in a parking lot behind the vet's office. I wept harder than I have for many years. Sometimes it seems like all of the pain from the stories of the borderlands and Colombia and places of poverty and violence all over the world get locked inside me, and I go day after day, month after month, year after year without feeling that kind of pain. And then, Cholla reaches the end of a full life and it feels as if somehow it unlocks all this emotion that I didn't know was inside me. Grief is so painful, and I am so good at tucking it away in a safe place so that I can continue to do the work. I choose the passages in the bible that give me hope. I focus on the stories of the church making a difference. I protect myself, and then for just a moment, it all comes rushing out once again.

I swore this wouldn't be one of those blogs where absolutely everything that happens in my life must be made relevent to the whole world. I suppose this one pushes the limits, but what makes us cry seems important to those of us who are trying to follow Jesus.

Fourth, I'm writing on election night, at about one a.m. Tucson time. It is clear, once again, that no matter who we've elected President by tomorrow morning, we will continue to be one country, like our beloved church, that is bitterly divided. My prayer is that we will begin to create a new kind of world view that goes beyond partisan politics and attempts to define a new kind of community. We have so much work to do.

Blessings on all of you as you arise in the morning. Have strength. Hold on to what is good. Return to no one evil for evil.