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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Boys are Gross

Wednesday Weekly Via Illuminate Update: Downtown Peru, Episode 1

Earlier this week, I read, "When we reject that with which we cannot become intimate, our lives are diminished" (Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach, Page 91).  I think this is true, but I'm struggling with the word cannot.  I tend to be fairly adamant about pushing back when anyone tells me that something is impossible.  I think our ability to intimately relate with others is only limited by how far we are willing to go.  If we're willing to give up everything we have to live like the poor and experience poverty, then we can, indeed, relate intimately to the impoverished.  I recognize that this is not a popular thought or way of living, but that doesn't make it any less true.  As an example from Scripture, Christians tend to be pretty hard on the rich young ruler when Jesus instructs him to, "go and sell all you possess and give to the poor," (see Mark 10:21, NASB) and he doesn't do it (at least according to the general consensus of people who have studied this passage—I might beg to differ).  And yet, how many of us are willing to do just that?  If I'm honest, I'm not.  I'm willing to give up a lot, but I have never been asked to sell every possession, to leave everything familiar, in order to follow.  Sometimes we talk big, and although our family is very serious about the need to live in solidarity with the least of these, the truth is that we have been spoiled...  rotten...

Every once in awhile, I like to stop to take stock of our material blessings.  Honestly, we have so much stuff at this point that it feels like something of a curse.  I think I started to feel this way when we downsized our living space by half almost three years ago.  But this week marked a new adventure for us that is sort of blowing my mind.

As we transition to more time in Peru, we needed somewhere to stay, several days every week, until we close on the church building and make the necessary remediation to call it "livable."  We're not being picky.  It's just that we have a family that suffers from severe allergies and asthma, so there are some things that simply must be done before we can survive in the building... literally. 

There have been delays leading up to the closing.  I am so thankful that the delays have not been on our part, but I'm ready to close.  Go ahead and imagine me repeating over and over, to myself, "Patience is a virtue..."  Occasionally, I think being virtuous is overrated...

But even without our building, my job in Peru started this week, so we had to go...

Now, let me be very clear that my sweet friend and mentor has us set up in a downtown apartment, and... seriously friends... I have always wanted to live in a downtown apartment!  In my younger years, I was thinking maybe NYC, but Peru will have to do!  Our family knows what it is to be briefly homeless, because we have been there... twice... over the past fifteen years.  Our current living arrangement does not, in any way, begin to compare to the desperate housing (or lack thereof) conditions that the least of these here in the United States (or certainly around the world) are subjected to, often for their entire lives.  But let me return just a moment to the spoiled rotten thing...

I've had a master bathroom for years.  The last time I did not have a master bathroom, it was 2005 and I had three really little people who needed help in the bathroom most of the time, anyway!  Sharing made sense. 

But yesterday?  Oh friends, yesterday I both stepped in and sat in pee!  Are you kidding me?  But it gets worse...  Upon washing my hands, I turned to dry them on my own personal hand towel and found that it was covered in snot!  Boys are gross!  Is it shameful that I am questioning whether or not I can scale back and live even a touch closer to the least of these, because I don't want to share my bathroom with my children?  Yes.  It's shameful.  True, but shameful.

We had a lovely two days in Peru.  I taught five early childhood music classes and was incredibly blessed to meet new people and to reconnect with old friends.  There was so much hugging and catching up and talking about my new love of coffee.  And singing.  And dancing.  And helping a college student with a research paper.  And thinking about how I should probably pack pots and pans for next week.  And picking kids up.  And dropping kids off.  And working.  And reading.  And sleeping.  And praying.  And driving.  And stuff.

We have needs.  I took one of those silly FB tests that analyzes your profile, the other day, and it told me that my greatest needs included a massage, a vacation, Sara C. (well, duh... always), lots of sleep, and 24 hours with nothing to do. While all of those would be fabulous, I think my number one need, right now, is to recognize how very blessed we are and to give more.

However, if you're looking for a tangible way to help us get started in Peru, we do, indeed, have a Via Illuminate wish list at Amazon (linked here).  Did you know you can purchase a urinal for $140...  Oh wait, that's not on the list...


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