Thursday, September 09, 2010

Articulation Attempt

Let me begin by saying this:  I just finished writing this....  long, rambling, tangenty, unclear, verbose mass.  I am torn between deleting it and sharing it.  I decided to share it because it shows just how hard it is for me to talk about the "whys" in a way that makes any sense at all.  I am hoping that by writing this I am getting a bit closer to figuring out how to talk about it.

On Tuesday morning I sat in Tim Horton's with a reporter from our small weekly paper.  It was less and interview and more a conversation.  We started talking and hopped from topic to tangent to story for about an hour and a half.

Throughout our conversation I kept hearing myself talk about "possibility."  In this space I have mostly made pleas for money and shared fundraising progress.  I have not talked too much about the whys and the emotional component of preparing for this trip.  I haven't talked about possibility.  I want to...  but I haven't because it's not easy.

I am not going to Africa to eliminate poverty, solve the orphan epidemic, or end world hunger.  There you go.  It's not so hard to talk about the "nots."

People toss about the word "community" easily.  I do it.  Community used to mean the people you knew in your town.  It still means that,  but not only that.  You're here, reading this, you likely know what I mean.  There is my "real life" community of family and friends and neighbors,  the school communities, the church communities, but now there are also the twitter communities, the facebook communities, the flickr communities, the communities on Yahoo, on and on and on.  If not all then at least most communities have a "return on investment."  If you are never there,  never commenting and sharing and helping and asking then there is no return.  You aren't actually a part of the community.  It's like the facebook that my nephew set up for my mom.

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Some of the t-shirts Erin and Wendy are selling have a graphic of the world.  Its a hazy kind of watercolory world.  It's different from a map which outlines all of the boundaries and differences.  The continents are different shapes,  sure.  But there are more similarities than differences.  It just looks like the earth.

Cue music:  We are the world.... we are the children...

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But why...  why am I doing this?  I could send money.  I could sent the money I have raised and the money I have spent on travel and accommodations and make a significant impact in an Ethiopian orphanage.

I could donate to one of the many honorable and worthy causes here in Maine.

Those possibilities for impact exist.

But here's the thing.  I am going to Africa for me.  I'm selfish like that.

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I should delete this post and start over.  Writing about this is hard.

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I have read the accounts of other folks who take humanitarian trips.  I cry when I read the posts Erin and Wendy wrote about their 1st trip to Ethiopia.  I cry when I read about Korah.  I am a blubbery baby.  I cry easily-  especially about the hard stuff.

What does this have to do with possibility?  with community?

I will never know what it's like to live in Ethiopia.  I don't know anyone who has grown up in an impoverished country.  I've never known anyone who went without clean water.  I've never gotten dinner at the city dump.  I've never NOT had access to medical care...  not even for one single minute.  I have never made choices about which child to feed.

It's possible when I meet people who do I will appreciate our similarities. 

Therein lies all of the possibility. 

The possibility of making my community bigger and smaller at the same time.  Of being a member of The Community instead of all of the communities.


Erin Moore said...

Beautiful and blubbery all rolled into one!

I think it's interesting when people tell me I should be sending the money I spent on my trip to Africa instead of going. I honestly feel like telling them that their mother and father should have just written a check to the hospital for $300K when they were born and asking the hospital to just keep them instead of taking them home and raising them. I mean really, as long as the financial needs are met - who needs a relationship? Duh.

Money doesn't touch. Money doesn't laugh. Money doesn't tell someone I love you. Money isn't a relationship. Money doesn't warm your heart or make you weep. Money is overrated - I guess that's probably the #1 thing going to Africa will teach you. Money isn't the solution - sure it helps - but nothing replaces the relationship. You'll comes in a child's smile - the light clicks on and you see joy because he/she finally understands that God loves them because He sent a complete stranger across half the world to hug them and kiss them and make them feel special.

There is no greater thrill than being an instrument of God.

I love your heart, girl! So GLAD you are GOING!

Meg said...

Thanks, Erin, and thanks for inviting me along on this adventure.