Saturday, July 18, 2009
Shake Shingles on a Double-Wide
Today, on our way to Raven Rock State Park, I noticed a double-wide trailer with shake shingles going up half the sides and on the roof. Hmmm... that is a unique thing, I thought. I sorta reminds me of Ethiopia. Awkward seg-way, but true. The whole time we were in Ethiopia, I witnessed, smelled and experienced things that seemed just very unique to me. Here are just a few examples: A herd of goats grazing in the median of what seemed to me to be a major highway. Seeing a highrise being built using tall wooden poles all criss-crossed together as it's scaffolding. Going to church half way around the world and feeling like I had just worshipped in America-- it WAS their English service, maybe we should have gone to the Amharic service :). Looking out the Yebsabi Guest House and seeing a herd of donkeys pass down our street. Having absolutely no order or regulations as to how or where people were driving and yet making it an entire week without a single car accident. Driving down several unpaved, unmarked, pothole filled roads until turning into a gated compound that was a five star restaurant, serving traditional Ethiopian cuisine. Finally-- and really completely frustrating, not unique-- stepping out of our van, onto the streets of Addis, walking past dozens of homeless, begging people and then into probably the most posh day spa I have ever seen before in my life (I don't frequent them often, but I've been to some nice ones here in the states), be completely pampered for over an hour, then walk out of that eutopia and back into the reality of poverty and want which exisists in abundance... no matter where you go. All of these completely surreal experiences have occupied hours of conversation for Tony and I over the past several nights. It has taken so long to process the entire trip, and I am still trying to peel back the layers. To say Ethiopia is a beautiful place is an understatement. If you could see the beauty of the mountains and the lushness of the vegitation, you would say it ranks with some of the most beautiful places in the world. I saw geranium bushes growing up the sides of buildings and when I asked our guide about this, he said they have to keep cutting them back to keep them in check. I told him that where I live-- which is a pretty great climate for growing pretty plants-- we can only grow geraniums in pots. For sure, I've never seen them the heighth of a single story home and as wide as half the outside wall!! He couldn't believe it. Neither could I :). And the people are beautiful. Kind, welcoming, hospitable, and smiling-- even with their eyes. Except for the hungry, down-cast and poor. Which is everywhere. In abundance. There is not a street in Addis that is not touched by poverty. We drove through the "Beverly Hills" section on our way to the coffee factory on our last day in Ethiopia. There were multi-million dollar houses... and homeless people. Granted, not so many in this part of town... but they were there, none-the-less.
You can't make sense of so much poverty. There is just no way to explain what it does to you on the inside. And I don't know about you, but when I can't make sense of something, it ends up making me angry and confused and helpless. Truly, in some ways, that is how I left Ethiopia. And now, when I look into the eyes of my children, I wonder how it is that they were rescued while millions of other orphans are left to try and survive against such daunting odds. How can I raise them "well" enough to honor this gift and not have them feel helpless about their homeland like I did? The truth is, I have NO idea what God has in store for them. And to think I can raise them "well enough" is such a prideful, self-important thought. Who am I to wonder at the workings of Almighty God or try and guess WHY He chose RiSa and JB for such a time as this? My job is simply to allow His love to flow through Tony and I to raise them and teach them of the love of a Father who has rescued us ALL out of darkness and into His Marvelous Light. I will never forget Tony's words one night while in Ethiopia, spoken in whispers over sleeping little heads: "All I know is that they were given to us. I don't know why," he said, "maybe for us, maybe for the boys, maybe for them... maybe for some crazy thing that we can't even fathom. All I know, is that it isn't an accident. They were given to us."
So, just like shake shingles on a double-wide (awkward seg-way, again) I don't have to understand. I am free from that. Instead, I can and will smile at and celebrate the uniquenesses of a land far away... which suddenly isn't so "far away" anymore! And praise my God in Heaven who saw fit to include our family into the wonders and uniqueness of adoption both from and INTO this land of Ethiopia. This, I may never be able to make "sense" of, but I stand in awe of it, none the less.
Grace and Peace,