Thursday, January 20, 2011

Poetically Correct

…The simple truth of a situation is usually more than enough.  -William Allard

There are some things I would like to have done better while I was in Zambia.  I should have learned more language.  I'm usually razor sharp quick at picking it up, but I didn't get intentional enough to absorb it.  And I don't know if I could call it regret, but, for lack of a better word, I regret not taking better notes.

See, I think God's purpose for me on this trip was accomplished.  My heart was broken, my eyes were opened, I came all undone, and I fell in love.  And He's sewn me back together and I feel alive- really alive, and I have so much hope, passion, and vision for the small things I uniquely can do that God can use in Zambia.

I firmly believe there is no greater story than a real one.  For as long as I can remember, I've loved biographies and documentaries, and, beginning in college, I grew to love missionary biographies in particular.  They have been so, so precious to me.  Real people.  Real struggle. Real victory. Real, honest, authentic stories about ordinary people and their extraordinary God. 

I met so many beautiful people in Zambia. I heard story after story, saw wonderful evidence of God in person after person, and it was incredible. 

Of course, I didn't take notes. 

I was a little overwhelmed.  I was just all undone in Africa.  I tried to write at the end of the day, and couldn't.  I'd jot down basic facts, where we went, etc., and that was all I had to give.  I wasn't thinking about how I'd blog about all of it when I got home.  It sounds strange to say that, but, it's true.  I just wasn't thinking about it.

And so, God's work in me was accomplished.  I got all broken, and now feel renewed and ready to go back.  Compelled to go back. 

And the next time I go, though it will still be an intense experience, I will be more prepared.  More focused.

I have a burning passion to show up, meet the people in my path, and let them talk and talk and talk.  I want to know their stories- and beautifully, these people are so willing to share, so blessed to share.  There was so much openness and transparency with the people I encountered- you just need to be present, to listen, and they'll lay their hearts out for you.  It was incredible.

With no help from me, their own stories were rich, full narratives.  Oh, oh I wish I'd taken better notes.

And I'll make my group stop what we're doing every once in a while so I can photograph things as we go.  I only asked them to slow down once last time.  I didn't want to frustrate everyone while they waited for me, though internally I was wanting to "stop a minute" all the time.  Now that I'm back I see how valuable those photographs have been, and I know I need to speak up more- because this is what we get to bring back for everyone. 

It's very difficult to tell a compelling story without rich images.  And they are everywhere there.

There are so many stories I want to tell.  But I didn't gather enough information- and it's imperative that I not, in any way, use my imagination to fill in the gaps.  Their own stories are too good, and the God who's orchestrating them is too grand, for me to try to throw something together to mend my shortcomings.

I've been known to wax poetic about all kinds of ordinary things and people that I love- my blog sees a lot of that.  I think the world needs that.  I know I need it.  There is endless beauty even in the most ordinary things.  I like to talk about it.

I've been waxing poetic about Zambia for 2 weeks.  I'm always writing from my heart- but I'm also always making sure that, to the best of my ability, what I say is accurate.  Because integrity is important always- but particularly when you're charged with the task of telling about what God is doing in people's lives, or through a ministry- it is rock solid required that what you're saying is true.

So for Richman and Regina, and Pastor Eddie, and all of you incredible, strong students I met at camp- I am dying to tell your stories.  But not yet.  I didn't take enough notes, and your lives are far too incredible for me to leave anything out when the world hears about you.

So we'll just have to wait until I can get it poetically correct.

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