Saturday, February 27, 2016

Making sense of it all--life-long culture shock

"To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery.  It means to live life in such a way that one's life wouldn't make sense if God did not exist."  Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard

Julian returned from a longer, ten day, trip to Haiti yesterday, looking well.  But an intense question is being put before God by him: "Is it really all about suffering?  Is life really just stages of suffering?"

When you come from a place where life and lives hold little promise for more than basic sustennance, when the people are in a constant line to see if you can find a way through your U.S. connections to give them a little help, when a young widow can't find the funds to bury her husband and the family looks to you..."Lord, is it all about suffering?"  He goes through a couple of days of readjusting from his trips most months.

Our ladies' study is on the book of Ecclesiastes this week.  I find the phrase "laboring under the sun" to remind me of the intense and unforgiving intensity of the sun beating down on the people of the Caribbean, and especially those in places like Haiti, making an effort to get their daily portion and find respite from it's oppressive heat.  As with anywhere, there comes a question of meaning to all of us.

"We are born homesick.  We long for an existence, a quality of life or a settledness which we've never directly experienced, but which we know exists, or at least ought to.  We live in something like a life-long culture shock.  Our response to this fact sets the course of our lives."  James Wilhoit

A Christian life on the frontlines doesn't make sense to sensible ones.  It should be hard to explain our motivations, our choices, in light of anything except Our Savior.  As a line in the popular Christian song, "Oceans", goes, "and there I find You in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand."

"Wouldn't they find it a source of consolation to see that light and darkness, hope and despair, love and fear are never very far from each other, that spritiual freedom often requires a fierce battle?" Henri Nouwen