He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Everyone promised the first year would be hard.
But I have to say I expected a little more out of the second year.
Perhaps I was too optimistic or too naive or something of the sort, but it’s still been a struggle. I still miss my family so very often. I still ache for more community here than we have. I’m burning to speak all three languages that would really make life easier and more productive, while I eek out a sentence in the first one.
I still want to be a good wife and learn to honor Stephen. I want to seize the day in front of us, whether its loving on a little neighbor friend, researching for my next development class, or just resting. I’m still sorting out how to balance our lives, spend money wisely, and live healthily.
Oh, and I’m working on not over-analyzing.
I suppose I could blame it on living in another country. I think I could also blame a little on simply being young, and having so many things to learn and experience about being a wife, being a friend, and loving the Lord.
Either way, I have had this verse resounding in my mind this weekend.
I love the straight-forward simplicity of it. Not that any bit of this is easy or simple, but it at least appears so when stated in three direct actions.
I can simply repeat this to myself as I sort out what it means in living life from this moment to the next.
I came across this story on a blog where a woman was teaching her kids the idea of justice.
“…I made up a story about our young friend [with special needs] Jacob. I told the kids to imagine they were sitting on the porch and at the end of our driveway Jacob had been riding his bike. It’s the same shiny one he rode over to show us the day he got it for his tenth birthday last month. And, then, I told them to imagine that some older boys came up and made a bet with Jacob that if he didn’t score a basketball shot, they would get his bike. And Jacob, not really understanding the bet, agreed. And he missed the shot, to which my kids indignantly said, ‘But, he couldn’t make a shot, anyway. That’s not fair.’
…I told them to imagine that from their view from the porch, they watched as the group of older boys took Jacob’s bike from his pudgy hands. And Jacob tried to grab the handlebars of his beloved blue bike, but the boys were stronger and there were more of them. And then Jacob started to yell at them, but they couldn’t understand what he was saying, so they just laughed.
And my kids had wide eyes, and the spoons stopped moving for a minute.
And then I told them what their father and I expected of our kids, should they be witness to an injustice like the one with Jacob and his bike:
I told them to get off the porch.
I told them that it didn’t matter if they got in a fight, it didn’t matter if they didn’t know what they were going to do when they got face-to-face with the bullies at the end of the driveway. I said that I didn’t care even if they mess it up and throw a punch too soon. I just want them off the porch.
Even if they’re scared to death.
Even if there’s no way they can win.
Even if the bullies end up driving the bike away and all they are left with is a crying Jacob and a bloody nose.
I told my kids that fighting for justice, standing up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves, getting of the porch, is always the right thing.
And the results are secondary. And maybe even unimportant.
Because even if Jacob lost his bike that day, he would have known he wasn’t alone in the fight for it.
And I remember catching eyes with my husband across the table, remember how the words for my kids became the reminder we still need.
Because, in our corner of this world, it feels like the bullies are winning.
And our getting off the porch isn’t changing much, isn’t changing anything, except that it is costing us more than we wanted to give. Doubt looms large and the bruises run deep. And the older boys are so many, and so very strong.”
I love that she points out, “…he would have known he wasn’t alone in the fight.”
I feel like that is so much of our lives alongside the Burmese and Karen. If anything, we are contributing very little to their extremely capable community. Instead, we simply offer the reminder that they aren’t alone; that they are not forgotten.
Our small contributions do seem to cost much more than they are worth at times and more than I wanted to give. Some days, and perhaps many in the last week, the doubt does loom large.
Help us do justly.
Help us love mercy.
Help us walk humbly with You, God.