You’ve been faithful, God. More faithful and more gracious than I could ever deserve.
But right now, my heart feels swamped.
There’s pain, all different kinds.
Sometimes piercing like something sharp, sometimes a shocking punch in the gut. Sometimes it’s a dull ache. I’ve known them all these last months.
It’s not all my pain – and yet, in a way, it is. Those I’ve witnessed suffering around me are not starving orphans or earthquake victims; just people experiencing injustice, heartache and the cruel hand of sickness.
These people are my flesh and blood, and the people my soul loves. How can their pain not be mine? I don’t know how to not be burdened by it. I absorb other’s pain like a sponge. I want to fix everything and I can’t.
I am tired and confused and sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode. Too many…
It’s been an evening jam-packed with interesting links to photographs, articles and videos. From hearing Zooey Deschanel, Zach Braff and other well-known people read mean tweets aloud to reading about a journalist’s struggle with anorexia, it has been an evening of letting my curiosity roam free and explore. My head explodes with information as I think about how late it is, 23.28 – I should be sleeping, not writing. Since my over-stimulated brain will find it hard to sleep, I thought I’d give publishing my spontaneous thoughts a go. I wonder why I spent a whole evening reading about all these things: it’s kept my mind busy but I think there may be more to it. I’ve been out of my head the past few hours, it’s nice. But is it a healthy exercise or pure escapism?
Anyway, if you care to read/watch some of what has occupied my evening, here are some links:
http://www.aviddetention.org.uk/ Associacion of Visitors to Immigration Detainees. I’ve been looking into volunteering to help refugees or migrants. My heart aches at the thought of what happens in detainee centres. I used to live close to one in a southern European country and sometimes you could hear people cry at night… I might write some more on this subject another time.
Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Custom-House”
Thinking about migration.
Sometimes I can see how interesting it is to have travelled and seen so much of the world in such a short period of time. On bad days my being yearns for some sort of tangible collective identity, I want to claim a nationality, a language, a culture – I want one of those things to be mine, to define me. It never works. I know that even if I could fully identify with a specific culture I’d always be painfully aware that culture doesn’t answer the question of who I am.
Reading this quote reminds me that there is something very valuable in having lived in different places, however painful the experience. Unaccustomed earth can be confusing, extremely painful, humiliating at times… But if you choose to endure and learn to walk on it (even when it stings) you flourish. That sounds much better than longing for “the same worn-out soil”.