I’ve been trying to write a few posts all week, and it just isn’t coming.
It would be lovely to say we took a beautiful vacation, we rested; we returned and hit the ground running.
But sometimes, you just hit the ground, with all the grace and pain and groans that come with that.
We returned about 8pm Sunday night and I was pulled into a neighbors’ house before I made it into my own. Her father had come from Burma to get medical treatment, and basically, he is old. He is dying. They showed me the medicine they had been given at the hospital, and I assured them we’d visit and try to help anyway we could.
As I headed back to our house, a drunken brawl broke out just outside the door, and I was pulled back into wait it out.
We crashed into bed after getting one load of laundry started and scrounging up a dinner of random foods I had previously frozen.
And then we were woken the next to day from the window. A little boy had died late the previous evening, and we needed to go to the funeral meal. Now.
There were some joys, too.
The woman who’s father was quite sick spent a few days admitted to the intensive care unit at the hospital, and then was discharged, mostly because there was little they could do. And while this was sad, the daughter came over that night and asked if we’d help them call her sister in America.
After half an hour of miscommunications in three languages over two continents, we found them on Oovoo!
The father has ten children–eight live in Burma, one in Mae Sot, and one in America. They haven’t seen her–in any capacity–in five years, and just have phone calls between them. They were absolutely overjoyed at actually seeing one another and showing off their children.
We listened to them chat and giggle for nearly two hours.
The kids made a game of pulling each other around on an old mat, creating their own little Mae Sot street version of a magic carpet ride. Lay Tah Oo learned how to say recycling, and it’s one of the most adorable things yet. We have kids running in and out of our home and making us laugh constantly.
The paradox just amazes me. It overwhelms me at times.
I don’t have much life experience at all, but we are walking down one of the ugliest, messiest roads I ever imagined. I just didn’t think I’d see these things and witness them. I didn’t think we’d have to make the decisions we have to make daily.
I didn’t think the world was this ugly.
I didn’t think I’d love strangers this much.
I didn’t think I’d ever pray for kids I know and love to not enter into prostitution. I didn’t think I’d ever pray for kids I know and love to be safe in their homes–safe from abuse, safe from police, safe from hunger.
I didn’t think I’d ever see the stories of the gospels so tangibly.
I didn’t think I’d understand Paul’s writings so deeply.
I didn’t think I’d need the Holy Spirit so desperately.
I didn’t think I’d ache for eternity so urgently.
And this week, as we hit the ground, I was abruptly reminded of the horrors and beauty that surround us and invade us.
Today at our home church Stephen led us in Nothing But the Blood.
I’ve always thought of that song in light of my own sin: nothing but the blood has washed me clean. His blood has been my atonement and made me white as snow.
But today, I saw it a little differently: all the sickness, all the sadness, all the hurt–nothing but the blood can wash that away from this earth. The income inequality, racism, war, disease: it came into the world through sin, and it requires the same atonement as I do.
I imagined blood just running through our streets, over our homes, over our lives: because nothing but the blood of the cross can make this whole.
I had a dream|nightmare a couple nights ago. I was delivering flowers with San Aye, our usual Friday deliveries, but there was blood everywhere. She would get out, and there would be blood in the car. I would look down at my shirt and there was blood on my shirt, on my arm; it was everywhere.
I woke up many times, asking Stephen to turn on the light. There was just so much blood in my dream, and in our lives, blood comes to our door in drunken brawls and kids running on broken glass and domestic disputes. Blood comes with pain.
But blood also comes with healing. Blood is really our only hope.
And isn’t that the story of redemption? The story of the Scriptures?
And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”