Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Goodbye Despair ... Pursuing One Hope

In the years we have lived outside of the USA, I have chosen not to engage much in the political happenings of my passport country.  

That choice was two things: personal and intentional.  

When I shared that with friends, family, and strangers on the interwebs - it was met with two distinctly dissimilar responses. 

1.  "You're unAmerican and that's not cool of you, Tara."  
2. "That's great, I totally get it."  

There were no middle-of-the-road responses offered.  Probably, those in the middle just did what we all do when we don't feel strongly -  they stayed quiet.  One lady even wrote to me to tell me that she had "always viewed me as a strong female Christian leader" but "not now".   DOH!  (I didn't need her endorsement or the removal of her endorsement - so all is well.) 

This year, something really really bad happened to me.  I got sucked into the vortex of despair again.  

I was so put -off and floored that the obnoxious guy on the Republican ticket was gaining favor that I began to follow politics and USA political news quite closely.  

This modus operandi was for disaster for me.  

I despaired.  And despaired. 

When I despair, Troy just looks at me -  like way too long he looks at me -- and his look says this,  "Lady, I really like you, I do.  BUT.  This is not okay.  Stop being dragged down by the things of our world. Stop seeing only the darkness.  QUIT reading the damn news, please."  I know what every look means. That is the look he gave me several days in a row last week.

I finally talked to Troy about the look.  

He confirmed he thought I was despairing mucheth

Which leads me to my recent conclusion. I'm extracting myself from the race.  I did that officially last Friday night and I'm doing better already.


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(republished today without edits)

We don't often write about current events or what is in the mainstream news. We're narrow and limited and what you see is what you get.  

Generally, we only write about two things:  1. Our tribe  &  2. Living, working, and everyday learning & growing in Haiti (Maternal Health in Haiti).

Once in a long while I'll get worked up about something. That usually happens because some news story has touched a deep nerve in my heart due to a personal connection. With only a few exceptions, we don't venture outside of the lines here. 

We're the experts of nothing and the masters of zilch. Half the time I have to google things people are talking about to figure out what the heck is going on in the outside world of grown-up big people. 

You'll never find a recipe or a political discussion posted here.  I would rather pop my eyeballs out and set them in a pot of boiling hot bean sauce (and not share the recipe) than talk about politics on the internet.  

(Ironic twist: I am talking about the politics that I refuse to talk about - this, though - finished!)

Besides the fact that I generally distrust governments and systems and all people with power, and therefore don't choose to engage it much, this excerpt sort of sums up my reasons for attempting to stay far away from the political controversy and especially the conversations that happen online:

From Communication Across Borders:

"Dialogue is best done in relationship, over breaking bread, over coffee." 

"We both have strong convictions that could lead to ugly...  Human reactions, emotions and interactions are complex. I also know there are some things that I won't discuss online, not because I lack conviction but because the potential for misinterpretation is too high..." 
That's it!
If forced to talk politics I'd want to talk at a table, looking eye to eye. (I mean after we dug my eyes out of the bean sauce, of course.)

I think we're all fairly poor listeners. Misinterpretation or not, we aren't really open to hearing in the first place. We're a lot better at stating what we think than we are at hearing.In part, that must be why we love the internet so much. Because we struggle to hear one another and be respectful listeners in a face to face conversation, I see no point in attempting to communicate this more contentious stuff outside of close relationships, and not on the stinkin' internet.

I have good friends that cross all political lines and can be categorized in dozens of ways.My opinions (or my apathy) are not as important to me as my relationships with my friends.I value greatly my friendships with people that are disillusioned and not even sure what they believe anymore because they are too deeply entrenched in unanswered questions. I value my friendship with my Libertarian friend in Virginia and I value my friendship with my Obama-loving friends in Minnesota.I value my friendships with my conservative friends and family. I have listened to how they arrived at their decision and I don't begrudge any of them for believing in "theirguy".I just don't believe much of it with them.  

I doubt I can articulate clearly what I'm trying to communicate today.Trust me, I don't want to be controversial, combative, confusing or any any host of other words that start with the letter C.

I just know that there is something that is true for me personally.I don't presuppose anyone needs to feel the way I feel about it. I assume that I arrived at this point as a result of being removed from the vortex of the system. Simply put, I believe that I need not become embroiled in the debate, nor need I engage the rhetoric of the political high-season.  I've been told this is un-American, and I disagree.

Here's the thing, in my mind it's all an earthy battle ultimately bound to fail

I'd rather battle for Kindgom things that I don't believe will fail.  I'm in a place where instead of engaging in the ideas and sentiments of the politicians battle, I'd rather focus on the real and tangible war right in front of me.  I don't need to battle over politics because I have a massive fight on my hands as it is. 

The battle to walk closely with Him day-by-day. 
The battle to be salt, to be light. 
The battle against my own sin and depravity. 
The battle to love my neighbor well. 
The battle to act justly; to love mercy. 

The Kingdom isn't so much about how I vote (or promote my vote on-line) - the Kingdom is more about the way I love and live and act toward the forgotten and hurting around me. 

I urge you: Walk as Jesus walked. 
Live a life that is worthy of the calling 
He has graciously extended to you. 
Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. 
Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. 
Make every effort to preserve the unity 
the Spirit has already created, 
with peace binding you together.  
There is one body and one Spirit, 
just as you were all called to pursue one hope. 

from Ephesians 4

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Photo: Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne