Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ode to Non-Violent Revolution OPUS II

"An armed soldier relies on his weapons for his strength.
Take away from him his weapons--his gun or his sword, and he generally becomes helpless.
But a person who has truly realized the principle of nonviolence has the God-given strength for his weapon
and the world has not known anything that can match it."
Mahatma Gandhi

The Singing Revolution
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In 1988, as the Soviet empire showed signs of cracking and the all-pervasive sovietisation was coming to an end, Estonia's bloodless Singing Revolution made history. Night after night, a cycle of singing mass demonstrations eventually collected 300,000 Estonians (more than one-fifth of the population) in Tallinn to sing the forbidden national songs as rock musicians played. The Singing Revolution lasted over four years with various protests and acts of defiance.

On August 23, 1989 about two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stood on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands across the three countries, protesting Soviet policies. The unprecedented living chain measured nearly 600 km in length.

In 1991, as Soviet tanks were rolling throughout the countryside in an attempt to quell The Singing Revolution, the Estonian Soviet parliament together with the Congress of Estonia proclaimed the restoration of the independent State of Estonia. Estonians stood as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the tanks.

As a result of the revolution, Estonia won their independence without bloodshed. This, along with the other Baltic states gaining independency, started the disintegration of the USSR.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ode to Non-Violent Revolution OPUS I

"For years now, we have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can we just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it's nonviolence or nonexistence."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Orange Revolution

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Orange-clad supporters of Viktor Yushchenko gather in Independence Square in Kiev.
Orange-clad supporters of Viktor Yushchenko gather in Independence Square in Kiev.

Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" of 2004-2005 was a series of protests and political events that took place throughout the country in response to allegations of massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud during Ukraine's Presidential Run-off Election of November 21, 2004, as reported by numerous domestic and foreign observers. The November 21, 2004 run-off was mandated by Ukrainian law because, according to the official results of the presidential election held on October 31, 2004, no candidate carried the absolute majority (> 50%) of the vote cast, a case where a run-off between two top candidates with the highest number of votes was specifically required by the law. The winner of the run-off was to become the country's third president since its 1991 independence following the demise of the Soviet Union.

Orange was adopted by the protesters as the official color of the movement because it was the predominant color in opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko's election campaign during his run for president. The symbol of solidarity with Yushchenko's movement in Ukraine is an orange ribbon or a flag bearing his "Tak! (Yes!) Yushchenko!" slogan.

Sometimes called the Chestnut Revolution due to the abundance of chestnut trees in Kiev — the capital city of Ukraine and center of the revolution where a large 24-hour tent city was set up by Yushchenko supporters —the action was highlighted by a series of nationwide protests, sit-ins, and planned general strikes, organized by supporters of opposition candidate Yushchenko following the disputed results of the November 21 run-off election.

Due in large part to the movement's efforts, the results of the original run-off were annulled and a second run-off election was ordered by Ukraine's Supreme Court for December 26, 2004. Under intense international scrutiny, the official results of the second run-off proved to be virtually problem-free, legally valid and clearly in Yuschenko's favor. He was declared the official winner and with his inauguration on January 23, 2005 in Kiev, the Orange Revolution reached its successful and peaceful conclusion.

Extreme Forgiveness

My favorite devotional is "Extreme Devotion", written by the Voice of the Martyrs. Below is one of my favorite passages from this book.

Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 6:12

In Communist Romania, churches were closed and pastors arrested as part of a seven year drive to "eliminate the nation of all superstition." so when Brother Vasile and his wife began holding more church meetings in their little home, they knew it would not escape the attention of the government forever. Every evening Vasile prayed, " God if you know of some prisoner who needs my help, please send me back to jail." His wife shuddered as she mumbled a reluctant "amen."
Then they learned that one of the church member's homes had been raided and copies of Vasile's sermons had been confiscated. They also learned that the assistant pastor their friend and coworker, became an informant and had denounced Vasile. It was 1:00 a.m. when the police raided the little apartment and placed Vasile under arrest. As they handcuffed him, Vasile said, "I won't leave here peacefully unless you allow me five minutes to embrace my wife." The police reluctantly agreed. They would have their way soon enough.
The couple held each other, prayed and sang with such emotion that even the captain was moved. Finally they escorted him out to a police van with Vasile's wife tearfully running after them. Vasile turned and called out his last words before disappearing for many years, "Give all my love to our son and the pastor who denounced me."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Me Street

The fine people over on the Emmaus Theory Blog are very fond of posting little quizzes and questionnaires. I take them for the fun of it, which is the intent, I think. On Fridays Cindy post the Friday Feast, which has little to do with food and is rather a series of questions posted along the lines of a menu, appetizer, salad, main course...etc. One of today's questions asked what we would name the street we live on, if we were able to rename it. I stated playfully that I would name my street "Me Street" So that everyone who lived on it could say, "This street is named after me!" But of course, my mind working the way it does, I couldn't leave it at that and continued thinking about it, and I came to realize, don't we all kind of already live on "Me Street?"

My sons are half Asian Indian and half me -- European American. I was married to their father for nearly 8 years. I learned a lot about Indian and Middle Eastern culture. I can tell you, there is some resentment in our society towards Indians. Every time people found out I was married to an Indian, I had to hear their litany of bad experiences with Indians. As if they had never had a bad experience with someone of their own culture...right!
People tend to wonder, what is it about Indians that enables them to come to the U.S. and do so well academically and financially. I can tell you what it is. Indians do not live on "Me Street", they live on "We Street."
Indians have a completely different idea of family and finances, and family finances. There is no shame in India in going to another family member and asking for financial support. In fact Indian families will pool their resources in order to help one family member go to school, come to the U.S., start a business, etc... so that when that family member succeeds, he/she can then turn around and help pull the rest of the family up in the world. They learned that their chances of success were much greater if everyone worked together, rather than each individual trying to make it own their own. That is very different from the family I grew up in, which to this day has an "I got mine, you get yours!" mentality. So the next time you are wondering why all the doctors you go to are Indian and all the Dunkin Donuts are owned by Indians etc...just remember...its because they learned how to live on "We Street."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


It is my intention to eventually have my eldest son help me to put links on my site to some of the blogs I read daily. You know who you are! If you do NOT want me to link to your site. Please send me an email. I promise I won't hold it against you. Not for long anyway...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In the Temple

Jesus was in the temple.
Jesus was in the synagogue.
Think about it, for a minute.
He taught from the mountain tops. He taught from boats. He taught walking through fields. He taught in private homes. But He also taught in the temple. In the very face of those who hated him the most. In the face of those who wanted Him dead. When you stop and think about it, you gotta admit, the Messiah had moxie... Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Everybody loved Him on the mountain top! At the mere rumor of his presence multitudes gathered instantaneously...before the invention of the radio, t.v. cell phone, or text messaging. They clamored for Him, lay branches across the road for Him, peeled back a roof for him, climbed trees, pressed through crowds for Him, and even when He tried to get away from the crowds, many times He couldn't. Yet He went to the temple and taught in the face of the most inappreciative crowd imaginable. It wasn't as if He was hard up for a gig. What was He thinking? It seems almost... dare I say it ... confrontational?... I mean I know that we all have this sweet little image of the Christ, walking around with a benevolent smile, patting the heads of very clean and well fed children, with a lamb thrown around His neck for good measure... So why did He do it? Why did He walk straight up in the face of the powers that be, the guardians of the status quo, to preach His sermons? And the enormous crowds that followed him everywhere must have made quite a spectacle at the temple. They weren't your normal, "church crowd". Thieves, harlots, tax collectors, the poor, the oppressed... Was Jesus sending a message to more than just those who were willingly there to hear Him? Was it His way of telling the regular "church crowd" that since they had neglected their duty to come out from behind the church walls to care for the least of these, he had brought the least of these to them? Was this the first sit in? We don't normally think of Jesus as an "In your face!" kind of fella. Could it be we need to think again...?

Letter from Birmingham Jail

"So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Red Current Daily Image

I really love this site. I go to it every morning just to start my day with something beautiful.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Movie Quotes

I am a self - professed movie junkie. These are some of my favorite quotes. Please feel free to share your own.

"Name a shrub after me - something prickly and hard to eradicate."
Capt. Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander

"...happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,
when one only remembers to turn on the light."

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"Everything here is eatable. I'm eatable, but that, my children, is called cannibalism
and it is frowned upon in most societies."

Willie Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

"Why do we fall, sir? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up."
Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator

"I wasn't scared to die."
Pai, Whale Rider

"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
Jessica Rabbit, Who framed Roger Rabbit

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Only the weak are cruel.
Gentleness can only be expected
from the strong."
Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"If you want your children to be brilliant, tell them fairy tales. If you want them to be very brilliant, tell them even more fairy tales."
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Bus II

I took the bus to a rally yesterday. It was crowded, hot and sticky. Midway through the ride, the person sitting next to me got off and an adorable little girl took his place. I glanced down and saw her tiny hand reach out to touch the brightly colored bangles I happened to be wearing. Her face wore a mixture of pure fascination and wonder. But she caught herself and pulled her hand back just in time. To my own surprise, I was sorry that she had caught herself and woken up from her momentary enchantment. I thought about telling her it was okay, she could see my bangles, but not knowing if her reaction had been the result of fear or parental training, I regretfully remained silent.
I thought about the incident and it occurred to me how like the little girl I am at times, especially concerning the things of God. Countless are the times I have felt God calling me, drawing me into new territory, deeper waters... Countless are the times I have heard Him speak fascinating things that excited me and captured my imagination, things that would make me reach out to him in wonder, only to draw back again in fear and doubt. At times I do push through the negative feelings. It takes sheer force of will on my part to go by what I know and not by how I feel. But all too often I give into my feelings and allow them to short change me on my journey. I wonder if at these times God is disappointed as I was when the little girl on the bus caught herself just in time.
There is a beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson that was used by Nelson Mandela during his inaugural address. It is one of my favorites.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, " Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others will not feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone! As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Monday, July 18, 2005

Church Camp

The Christian walk is not always serious. Some very funny things can happen along the way. My pastor shared an amusing story with me a while ago.
Our altar is a truly beautiful work of art. It is solid mahogany and like many of the pieces within our sanctuary it is an original African artwork commissioned by a Chicago artist. But this altar was not original to the building. One prior to it was quite different with an opening underneath. One night my pastor heard the alarm go off in the sanctuary. They entered to find a homeless man. They pulled back the altar cloth only to find cigarettes and all of the other paraphernalia of his life under there. He told him he had been living under our altar for quite a while. When they informed him that they would find him a shelter to go to and help him get on his feet.
He responded, " Well can't I stay here until you do? I like living here!"

Also a more recent occurrence. During Palm Sunday, our visiting priest who does our 8:30 mass was standing in the balcony, using the little whisk they use to bless the palms with holy water. As he was blessing the palms the whisk flew out of his hand and through the air. He said "oops" and someone standing with him yelled quite loudly to the people below, "DUCK!" Soon giggles began to break out, until the entire church was giggling uncontrollably...

I'm thinking that there must be a lot of funny church stories out there, and I invite you to share them.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Anonymous as cherubs
Over the crib of God,
White seeds are floating
Out of my burst pod.
What power had I
Before I learned to yield?
Shatter me, great wind:
I shall possess the field.

From:"Two Voices in a Meadow," from Advice to a Prophet and Other Poems
by Richard Wilbur

Be Thou My Vision

At­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Com­di cri­de); trans­lat­ed from an­cient Ir­ish to Eng­lish by Ma­ry E. Byrne, in “Eriú,”

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Here is another site which you can access and send a message to President Bush to aid those in Darfur. You can also send a contribution through this site, but if you are unable to do so you can just send a message by clicking on the red box on the upper left hand corner of the webpage.
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't."
Sammuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I've had a lot of cool things happen to me in my life. There was the time I sat in the street, blocked traffic and got arrested with my rebel priest and fellow church members and took a crooked suburban Mayor and a store selling drug paraphernalia to task. That was pretty cool. Going to the Southwest to visit the Indian ruins at Mesa Verde, and other such places was also a highlight. And I have no words to describe Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. But as far as God ordained experiences, there is one that tops the cool list without competition...

The one place I want to visit more than anywhere in the world is Persepolis. But being that it is located in Iran ... I'm not holding my breath...Persepolis was the main palace of King Xerxes and Darius. It is believed that Nehemiah, Daniel and Esther all spent time there. A while back, I was going through a particularly difficult trial by fire. It was pretty rough. In fact it was one of the most difficult things I have ever endured. There were days when I literally had to pray my way out of bed. One morning during this time while I was worshipping before our church service, I saw myself in the Spirit. I was worshipping at Persepolis. I wondered what on earth it meant. It was an intense experience to say the least. As I sat in service a while later, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to me almost audibly. He directed me to go to the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, a place I had not been in nearly twenty years and remembered nothing about. Now mind you, I am not one of those people who says that God told me what to wear today, what to eat today, etc... I went on line as soon as I got home and found out that the next time I would be able to visit would be Tuesday. Tuesday morning, after prayer, I scooted over to the Oriental Institute. I walked through the museum and saw some very fascinating things. Took a few notes, etc, still wondering why I was there. I finally entered the last room and read the plaque on the wall. "Persepolis Exhibit." And I was so glad I was alone, because I could have sat down in the middle of the floor right then and there and bawled like a baby. I walked around looking at the different artifacts, fighting the tears. It made me breathless to think that Queen Esther herself had walked past the same adorned columns that I now stood beneath. I went to the gift shop and bought a lapis and silver ring to commemorate the event. To remind me of what had happened. I made a pledge to God that day, that I was married to my destiny, and that I would do all I could do to overcome any obstacle and desire that would try to pull me away from my God ordained purpose. The whole experience still blows my mind, and the Oriental Institute has become one of my haunts. I wear my ring nearly everyday. When things happen that discourage me, I take it off and hold it up to my face and look at it, I remember how God spoke to my heart and ordered my steps to give me a word of encouragement in one of my darkest hours. I remember that it was just between He and I, that He didn't need anyone else's help to speak to me, just my obedience. I remember that I am part of a holy nation and a royal priesthood. And that's pretty cool.

Grasshoppers & Royalty

I had another one of my "acid" dreams. But promise not to judge me unless you read Daniel and Ezekiel first.
I dreamt that two creatures were laying on the ground in front of me. One was badly injured. I don't remember what it was. The other was a very large brightly colored grasshopper. I bent over to help the other creature, as it seemed obvious that it was the more badly injured and needed my help. But the grasshopper began to speak to me. Yes...the grasshopper talked. It began to insist that I stop what I was doing and look to its needs. It insisted that it was injured and desperately needed my help. So I paused for a second and looked at it. I began to see another identical grasshopper emerge from its belly. I said, "There isn't a thing wrong with you! You're just giving birth!"
I woke up thinking, " Grasshoppers give birth to grasshoppers."

And what does this have to do with royalty? There is quite a bit of controversy and argument over the role Mary should play in the church. Protestants accuse Catholics of worshipping her. Catholics accuse Protestants of neglecting her. She has been given titles such as the Mother of God& Queen of Heaven. We fight about her birth... was it immaculate conception? We fight about if she ascended after her death. Being raised Protestant and now being Catholic, I can tell you I have done quite a bit of pondering about Mary. I still can't bring myself to say the "Hail Mary", but when I pray I will sit in front of her statue and ponder her testimony. You see to me its all about giving birth. What ever you believe about Mary, she has something to say to us, because we all give birth. Oh, some of us may not have a physical womb...but trust me, you are still giving birth. It may not be a physical baby to be held and coddled in your arms... it might be something of a much less innocent nature....maybe hatred, or strife, or selfishness, lies or deception. Psalm 7:14 tells us that he (yes... it reads "HE"!) who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. But hopefully as a disciple of Christ it is his Kingdom you are birthing into the world around you. Hopefully as disciples of Christ we are birthing hope and joy, peace, patience and kindness, truth, love and self-control. Hopefully we are birthing compassion for the truly injured, and concern for the weak. We all give birth. We are all called, like Mary, to be fully submitted and yielded to the will of God so that the Holy Spirit can birth the Kingdom of God through us...on this Earth as it is in Heaven. Grasshoppers give birth to grasshoppers. Royalty gives birth to royalty. What are you birthing?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."
I Peter 1:22

Monday, July 11, 2005

Be a Witness

Please visit this site and ask our networks why they are choosing not to cover the genocide in Darfur.


"There is no such thing as chance, and what we regard as blind circumstances actually stems from the deepest source of all."
Friedrich von Shiller

Sunday, July 10, 2005

That's what Family is For

I love to cook. As a result, I get many magazines and catalogs geared toward cooking. I turn the pages looking longingly at the many gadgets and electrical specialty products marketed towards people like me. Some times I indulge, more often than not I turn the page wistfully acknowledging that my budget doesn't have room for the heart shaped waffle iron, even if my kitchen does. Last year I was doing just that, turning the pages of the most recent catalog I had received when I came upon the knives. Henckels knives... oooooooo, ahhhhhhhh. Was this longing or just outright LUST that I was feeling? I said to myself..."Laura, you might as well turn that page because never in your life will you have knives like those!"
In the faith community I am a part of, we have a dear sister named Marguerite. Marguerite is the picture of elegance and decorum at all times. She is also an intercessor. We are friends, but not close enough to talk even frequently, so I was thrilled when she showed up at my 40th birthday party. She walked towards the table and handed me an unusually heavy bag. I'm sure you have already guessed...inside were Henckels knives. She told me God had woken her in the middle of the night and told her to get me Henckels knives. She said He continually "pestered" her about it so much throughout the day that she finally said, "Okay God, I promise I will get her the knives as soon as I get off work!"
That was cool in and of itself...but it was about more than knives to me. For me it was about knowing that God was watching me and aware of even my most trivial desires. It was about God sending me a message to stop saying what I cannot have. As a result of the incident, I immediately enrolled into a program at DePaul university for older adults. And I never reach for a knife now without being reminded of all of the above. But none of it would have happened if my sister in Christ had not heeded the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and obeyed in generosity. Marguerite didn't just buy me knives...she allowed the Holy Spirit to use her as an instrument to help change my life. That's what family is for...and I am forever grateful.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In the Trenches

Lately I have been hearing our soldiers talk a lot about the camaraderie that develops on the battlefield. They say that the friendships that develop in war are like none other. While I have never been a member of the armed services, I think I can relate at least a little...being in a church that is very active I can attest that after you have marched alongside people, been arrested with them, prayed with them over their trials, illnesses, & funerals, loaned them 5 bucks just to make it for the next three days until payday, knowing next week it might be you asking...when you have encouraged them when they were on their last leg, and a few months later they returned the favor for you... to say a bond develops would be an understatement. Relationships formed in the trenches are like none other. This is something people who do not go to church will never experience or understand. This is something an arm chair quarterback cannot relate to.
The church for sure has its issues, but anyone can quit, walk out, take their marbles and go home, sit in the corner and lick their wounds, etc... but how much courage does that take? Anyone can sit on the sidelines and criticize the plays of others, but where is your game? I have had my issues with church to be sure. So why don't I walk away? For the same reason I didn't move to Switzerland after the last election, I prefer to stay and work for change where it is needed. Also I have learned that everything isn't instant...God takes His time to work things out, and usually while He is working out something in my situation He simultaneously is working out something in me! But if I walk out, I will never have the pleasure of seeing the end result of patient faith either in me or my circumstances.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Honor Them

I protested the war. I still have my sign. Even when no one I knew was protesting, I carried myself downtown with my sign, " God is not an American." I stood for hours with it elevated above my head, refusing to lower it even though my arms ached. I marched. I chanted. I prayed. I lit candles. I'm on the email list of many peace groups.
A few hours ago, a bomb hit London. Innocent people died. A few hours later, I saw the reports. I looked at the carnage. I thought about some of the most beloved friends I have ever had who are from England. I thought about my son who takes the public transit system downtown everyday to his summer job. I thought the unthinkable. I heard our Chicago journalist boast that our subway system is protected by one of the most sophisticated camera systems in the world, the only one better being the one in London...
Then I went to open my email. Already one of the "peace" groups had sent me an email concerning the bombing...the basic message was in a nutshell "We told Bush so." I deleted it in disgust.
Have I changed my views on war?
Absolutely not.
Has this endeared me to the Bush agenda?
unequivocally NO!
Do I think our foreign policy might have something to do with this?
But I am so sick of the rhetoric. I am sick of agenda driven groups who will disregard the sanctity of human life to get their message across. I am sick of people trying to manipulate my emotions in order to garner my support. Real people died in London. Mothers, husbands, children, friends, co workers and lovers. They are not statistics. They were real people. And they shouldn't be treated as collateral damage by either side. Can we call a halt to the blustering b.s. hubris for just a moment and try working together for some real answers for a very real problem? In such a response, perhaps the memory of the real people who died would actually be honored.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Election Results are In

Since the last election, I have reflected quite a bit on my changing attitude towards voting. Having grown up in small towns and rural areas, I have to admit, voting was a whole lot more of an abstract game for me back then. You listened to the candidates, decided who you agreed with and cast your ballot, but honestly life pretty much went on the same regardless of who was in office. Its a very different thing for me now. A whole new ball game. And I take the election outcomes very personally. You see now, when I see the candidates, I see the faces of the children I work with everyday. When I'm hearing the candidates speak, I am seeing the faces of the children. When I walk into cast my ballot, I'm seeing the faces of the children. They haunt me in my dreams and in my waking hours. In their faces I see the vibrant hope of their sacred dreams, as well as shadows of impending clouds of doubt, as if deep down inside they posses a wisdom beyond their years that knows their grip on hope is tenuous at best...
And now when I cast my vote, I vote for them. I vote for the tiny boy who fainted with hunger and fell out of his chair and onto the classroom floor. I vote for the industrious seven year old girl I know, who due to her mother's alcoholism is more of a mamma than a child. I vote for the four year old who watched through the window while his daddy was being shot in the back yard. I vote for the oh so clever and personable 14 year old boy I know who already seems trapped in a life of gangs and drugs. I vote for the teenage girl who despite being surrounded by a family totally entrenched in addiction, is trying to stay focused, stay in school and make something of her life. I vote for the numerous children I hear pray that their mother / father / sister / brother will come back home and off of the street. I vote for the young people I know who want to go to college, but have to quit for a semester to work to save up enough tuition to return to school due to insufficient financial aid.
Why is it that the most needy, the most vulnerable, and the most innocent segment of society is always the hardest hit by government policy? Yes, I take elections very personal now. How can I not when I'm face to face with the results every day of my life?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

True Freedom

"Where poverty exist, there can be no true freedom"
Nelson Mandela

SOS To Mission Control

As most of you know, I live and work in the inner city. Yes, me...raised a country girl and still one at heart if truth be told. When I first came here and rolled up my sleeves to apply some elbow grease to the task at hand, oh my was it daunting. For every hungry child I fed, it seemed three more appeared. For every child I comforted another one seemed to be the subject of a news cast , the tragic victim of abuse, neglect and even death. While great changes were taking place within the community where I lived, a few minutes on the bus was all it took to show me how much more needed to be done. My sons were harassed by two White police officers who wanted to know why two white boys wanted to live in this community. The children in the neighborhood had to deal with watching their parents being shot at, one child was left at my house for three days over Thanksgiving with no warning or explanation afterwards. It could get so overwhelming. In fact it could get paralyzing to the point one just felt like throwing their hands in the air and giving up. It seemed so impossible at times.

In spite of all of the emotion and passion that I felt for what I do, eventually I had to learn to let go. I had to learn that regardless of how things look to me, God is still on the throne. I had to learn that I am not called to do everything, ...just what I can. I'm not called to nurture every child in the world...just the ones I can. And I had to learn that even one life touched and altered is a big thing. I had to learn about the ripple effect. But most of all I had to learn that I am not Mission control. I am not the little Dutch boy standing with my finger in the damn afraid that if I make one wrong move all will be lost. I've learned how to let go and send my SOS to the one who is really in control.