I’m striving to wage peace in the midst of conflict and suffering.
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It’s a familiar scene – planes taxing in and out, jets in the distance lifting off, others touching down. The whine of engines, and smell of jet fuel. People standing in lines, lots of people, lots of lines. 🙂 I’m back in the airport, this time returning to Greece. Not back Lesvos, but another area, Heraklion, understanding the refugee situation.
2 days later I continue writing –
After 40 hours of travel, yes, 40 hours, I arrive. I quickly learn that Prince Charles has just been meeting refugees here. (Maybe he’s tired of the wedding mania) I missed him by a day. Not that I’m overly depressed, although I do admire his compassion and causes he supports. And visiting refugees certainly elevates his status in my book.
After a few weeks here, then I’m to England for speaking engagements sharing of the refugee plight and of the situation in Bethlehem.
In all I do it’s not just me, but we.
Waging peace, Kel
Unlearning and Learning – I’ve been in Bethlehem, and travel causes me to reflect. Arriving there I think about what and who I’ve left in the states. Yet also finding myself considering all I’ve encountered abroad. Now seems particularly significant. It’s been 10 years since I first arrived in Palestine. I’ve been looking at emails I sent then. After being here only a few days, I email a mentor saying, “I get it. I understand what you’ve been trying to tell me of the suffering here.” A couple weeks later I write a friend telling, “I’m ok, just trying to allow God to change me. I really sense this is why I was brought here.”
I find this amazing, that in a just a few weeks of arriving I sense that being in Bethlehem was more about changing me, than what I would do. Yes, in 2007, and in the past 5 years, we’ve assisted many people, but in my experience, and my observation of others, the Divine is always more concerned with our spiritual growth than what we’re accomplishing.
I was there for six months, it put me on a path that changed me, my theology and my life. I’m thrilled I allowed the change, undoubtedly it’s the best thing that’s happened. But I wonder, I wonder had I known all that would change, all it would cost, would I had the courage? I don’t think so.
Deconstruction is painful, especially when it’s our fundamental foundations – religion, politics, worldview, and ego. 10 years ago my perspectives on these were quickly found inaccurate and inadequate. Had I only visited for a week or two, it’s quite possible when returning to the states I could have dismissed the realities I’d experienced, forget what I’d learned, ignored the pain in my heart, and not allowed the change.
Yet living there I couldn’t change the tv channel, click another site, find a distraction, or ignore it. I was immersed. I was living it. And at times those six months were painful. Honestly, most of the time was, as I realized much of what I thought, much of what I believed, was inadequate. But it set me on a path for which I’m most grateful.
It’s been 10 years of unlearning, and 10 years learning. Learning to love better, to love more – God and people. To see God in everyone and everywhere. It’s still happening, and there’s more to come, as long as I allow it. It’s difficult to live in a crucible and not be changed. Although many do it. It takes great pride, stubbornness and fear, it seems to me.
Unlearning and learning, while painful at times, has enabled me to connect with God, and humanity, at depths I’d never imagined. It’s available to us all, if we allow it.
Thank you for journeying with me.
Waging peace, Kelly