In the valley

Between March 20 and April 14th, 11 people died in Pikangikum. Of the eleven, nine died on the same night.*

Death is relentless in his pursuit for more,

overly eager to satisfy his unquenchable thirst.

Without invitation, he takes his time to embrace those in the throes of deep sorrow,

those still reeling from what he has done.

As if you can fool me,

we all know your behaviour is sadistic, utterly devoid of love.

Your embrace lingers longer than what is appropriate, you refuse to let us go,

even as we try to push you away. You will have your fill, you will busk in our pain.

We are helplessly bound to your timing.

And even after you have left, your arrogant presence can still be felt,

that mind numbing pain, that haunting lament, an undeniable reminder that you were here.

So much like the unwanted scent of cheap perfume that will not go away no matter how many times I wash myself.

Oh how I hate you death …

* I will not discuss on my blog the circumstances surrounding the deaths so please don’t ask. This is me trying to put to words some of the emotions I have encountered and experienced this past month.

Following His lead.

Pikangikum sunset.

Pikangikum sunset.

The plight of millions of Christians around the world who are persecuted for the Faith is one that has been close to my heart from the time I was 12. I don’t know why but by 12 the books that caught my interest, apart from Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys were books like, ” The voice of the Martyrs” or various books on the history of the Church and how so many have died clinging to Hope. I often wonder if this deep desire to try and understand at such a young age why so many chose to be martyrs was Gods way of preparing me for a time in my life when living in such an environment will take center stage … no one knows the future but Him. In the meanwhile, I never take the freedom I have to worship as I please for granted. This morning I was overwhelmed with tears as I thought (and prayed) of the plight of Christians in Syria, Somalia. I asked myself if Jesus meant so much to me that I would rather die a horrible death than recant … it is easy to say ” yes” in a time of peace, too easy to sing songs about how I want to live a life that only please Jesus when I don’t have to worry about someone coming to my door to arrest me or kill me. You know friend, sometimes I refuse to sing some Christian songs, why make promises to God when I know the state of my heart at that very moment is far from loving him with all my heart soul and mind?! Better to be silent than lie to Him.

JOY

It is said of Home that there is no pain or sorrow but sometimes I wonder if in one moment time, there was an exception…

Something happened that no one in Heaven thought possible,

A rift began between the Father and Son.

Were the angels overwhelmed with inexpressible sadness as the events unfolded?

Surely the Spirit filled Heaven with unbearable sorrow.

Did the Father  have to restrain His angels from coming down and rescuing His Son?

Heaven watched in numb silence as He wept in agony.

It was not what they did to His body

Or the rejection and arrogance of His creation

that brought such pain to them.

It was the crushing of His Spirit, the agonizing sight of the Son

covered, burdened with the sin of all the ages.

What kind of love is this?

Surely the 24 elders, the cherubim, the seraphim all of heaven’s inhabitants

and the very Presence wept when the rift was completed

and the Father poured all his wrath on His Beloved.

For a moment in time their hearts did not beat as one.

In that breathe, did Heaven experience the unthinkable?

The absence of the Sons glory?

Just as death thought he had won, a thunderous shout erupted in Heaven.

Where the earth’s foundations shaken when the Father and Son became one again?

Did the angels dance?

I only wish I had been there to experience that wondrous moment,

Surely no speech or song or dance or any form of expression can ever come close to describing the JOY that filled Heaven!

Because of the Joy awaiting Him, Jesus endured the cross disregarding its shame. May I this be true for me.

Thank God for Grace, cause when I fail, He reminds its OK to try again.

The politics of my skin

( I have been trying to upload the last batch of pictures of our road trip but our internet has been SO slow! I spent 3 hours last night trying to upload one picture to no avail! I have decided to post this entry thats been  in my draft for awhile instead and hopefully the next post will be about the road trip) 
A couple of years ago whilst living in South Africa, my friends and I went on a roadtrip, at one of our stops we spent four days with one of my friends’ friends. Trouble began for me when upon our arrival, the host and his wife refused entirely to acknowledge my presence as they gave warm greetings to everyone else ( I was the only black) I immediately realised this particular visit was going to be rather challenging, what to do? To be honest friend, I was very angry at first, looking back I think my anger was covering up how hurt I felt. I mulled over what to do for the next 3 days as their behavior did not change until I came up with a solution. I decided even if it kills me, I would make friends with the couple, I chose to find out what the husband loved to do and we ended up having a lively conversation about hunting in South Africa. At first it was very difficult but somehow I found the grace. Long story short, by the end of the evening the couple that had completely ignored me for 3 days were happily chatting and laughing with me. I learned something important that day, sometimes racial politics stem from the simple fact that one or both camps have incredibly biased and stupid assumptions about the other, take that away and you get people who would never get along becoming great friends.
my mom and my cousins daughter.

my mom and my cousins daughter.

 Until the age of 10 I lived in blissful ignorance of the fact that racial tensions between blacks and whites existed. It was when we traveled to South Africa for the first time in 1994 that it finally dawned on me that some people are very passionate about keeping racial inequality. My brother tells me that it was around that time that he asked me “whats a racist?” and I replied ” It’s when some white people don’t like us touching them.” 🙂 Since then, my family and I have experienced and observed different types of racial politics, some very subtle others straight in your face. For example one American missionary once told me that black people s brains are inferior to white people s brains because of the manner our mothers carry us as babies. What to do in such situations? One must have the wisdom to know which battles to pick, sometimes I speak out other times I choose silence. From personal observation some misconceptions are so deep seated there is no use trying to change a persons minds.
The way I see it, as long as I enjoy cross-cultural interactions I am bound to deal with people with a superioty complex. Over the years I have taught myself not to allow the root of bitterness to grow in my heart, to try not to take it personally and to remember if I treat them the way they treat me, there will be no difference between us. Has it got easier? NO! But I will never give up least I start practising reverse racism… why cant we all just get along 🙂 I dont have all the answers on how to deal with the sometimes complex nature of inter racial interactions, I just know its important to be willing to talk about such issues frankly and humbly.
If
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

The Traveller

For those who dare to dream the impossible.

Hope is his steady companion on this odyssey

Unwavering faith the cloak that protects and

keeps him warm against the bitter cold.

Days roll into weeks that turn into months

which finally slip into years.

Hundreds of miles trudged, even more still to come.

A conviction that once exuded youthful promise,

has betrayed him and turned into an old distant memory.

But still he trudges on…

Steady, he comforts his anxious weary heart, for North we must go.

From the comfort of their homes they watch him pass by,

“Listen,” some one cries out, ” there is no sense in troubling yourself,

all this walking will lead you nowhere, there is no North!”

A few brave the merciless winter to take a better look

at the traveller with unyielding purpose.

A soft snicker snakes its way from the back of the crowd

and quickly spreads like a wildfire.

They hold their sides all doubled over in pain,

his zeal for a ridiculous belief a comical sight for all.

“Eventually,” they reason, he will have to give it up.

Disillusioned, one by one they all return to their comfortable familiar.

Steady, he encourages his weary heart, for North we must go.

The wind begins to howl, its eerie cry haunting

the shelter far too flimsy to protect him from the coming storm.

Hope and faith begin to tremble,

Doubt gnaws at his heart like relentless hunger pangs.

If only he could have a glimpse of that North,

maybe with that, courage will come by and give his heart its strength.

But even that is wishful thinking, the loneliness is unyielding.

…Some roads are meant to be travelled alone.

Steady, he comforts his desponded heart, for North we must go!