Saturday, September 15, 2007

An Inspiration Called becca

I adore my friend becca. I met her in 2005 at Beautiful Gate in Cape Town. She always inspires, encourages and challenges me just by being her. Right now she is in India, leading a team of women that are helping other women to give birth to healthy babies. She wrote this post that really inspired me and I want to share it with you. In it she puts into words the reason I will continue to do the little bit that I can while I still exist on this earth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 becca wrote:

let's clap our hands. (disjointed, but maybe headed somewhere...)

I noticed the other day that I excuse myself from clapping in a corporate applause. It's as if I don't think my two hands coming together make enough sound to matter either way.

In my usual dramatic style I considered the implications for my life. It's easy to be discouraged by the many needs and pains in the world, even in one city alone, or one village, even in one life. Structures of injustice, personal decision, national violence, lack of hope--so many destructive forces working against even one person, even one little girl living in Palestine.

And what am I expected to do? Save the world? Run for presidency? Why bother to clap my hands or give rupees to the woman asking for coins? Why pray over a newborn? Why get out of bed tomorrow?

Taken to an extreme, it seems ridiculous. Of course we should get out of bed. Of course we should pray. But I wonder where and why I've drawn the line that divides what is useful and will "matter" and what is too insignificant in light of the need.

I remember in the spring of 2004 tearing down the tents we slept in for a few nights on the main college lawn. We hoped to raise awareness among the 2'700 other students about the situation of refugees, particularly in Iraq and Palestine.

Of course my hopes for the event were high and disappointment set in quite deeply as only a few people participated and even fewer cared.

As my friend and I slowly dismantled the quiet protest on Good Friday I felt like I had failed basically every suffering person on the earth. Who was I kidding? What a waste of time and nothing changed. And I just feel depressed. And I didn't sleep well.

My professor would try to comfort me as I was continually disappointed with my efforts to see change that never seemed to come. "This is something, becca, not nothing. It's something."

At some point along the journey, the words of Jesus began to save me. In Matthew 25 I stumbled upon one of the few pictures of "Judgement Day" and I realized that those people who were called to Jesus to 'inherit the kingdom' were those who cared for Jesus (in all of his disguises) in the simplest ways. Food, water, hospitality, some clothes, a visit when she was sick and compassion when he was imprisoned.

A friend encouraged me to think about our Ressurrected Jesus who, after dismantling the forces of death in every sphere of this world and the world to come and ultimately bringing the indestructible promise of healing to every tongue and tribe and nation...makes breakfast for us on the beach. And says that if we love him we should feed his lambs.

So maybe my life's work won't bring that much change, and newborns will still die, women will continue to suffer alone in pregnancy and nations will rage against eachother.For now. But the powers of darkness hear my tears over a little baby in India and they hear the cries of oppressed peoples for justice and they hear the prayers of the sisters at St. Emma's Monastery and of a father longing for his son to come home. They hear the bridegroom calling out to His bride. And they tremble. Because soon, things are going to change.

So until then, let's clap our hands and pray and love eachother and take care of strangers and teach and hang out in slums and tell our stories and listen. As my friend sings, "I will beat my drum and you can beat yours too, and we will shake the earth, 'cause our names are new."