Well it’s raining, and I’m working on a long post about empathy, and another about fear, but those posts take time, so here is one in the interim.
I’m always thankful for a little late season rain. It means the garden continues to thrive a little longer without our efforts at watering. Because once the weather here is dry, it’s really, really dry. We human garden-tenders need to be very diligent with our care.
Last night I was reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to the boys, and we got to the part where spring starts to return. Isaac turned to me with big eyes and said, “It’s like Shekina Garden now, but without a sala or a workshop.” It made me think of how it must feel for a little guy like Isaac to spend so much time in a garden like the one we have, with a beautiful food forest at the back, grassy space, spaces to hide. As an adult I adore it and also think about what needs to be done. “Mm, that corner is weedy, those look dry, the front needs to be replanted.” But for Isaac it is just magical.
Kai is doing well at school, and by well I mean he is meeting the challenges and plowing ahead. He’s a brave man-sized kid. It’s good to see him doing hard things and finding a way through. We also miss him like crazy. Our family dynamic has shifted, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a weird thing. (Chinua says I use the word weird too much. Chinua is probably right.)
The world is full of fire and anger, and into it we bring our own little globes of influence. Sometimes I am careless with my globe—I don’t keep it safe, I let it fill with fear and stress, and people who walk into it accidentally get smacked around by fear and stress too. This happens when I’m frustrated with endless documents and tasks, things that make me question the purpose of life. When I’m most successful with my little globe, it is full of love and acceptance, empathy and curiousity. I want it to be kind. Even when things are changing, and I don’t always understand the change or how quick it comes.
Our individual lives add up. Our globes of influence overlap and form large spaces.
This morning I have some chapters to read so I can teach English class with the kids who come over to learn with us. I will take the motorbike to the market and buy food for a community dinner. I will read aloud to kids from a book about Mother Teresa and a book about Sharazhad telling her stories. I will tell one of the kids to take Wookie for a walk and think again about how I need to make a chore schedule. I will not make a chore schedule. I will kiss Isaac before he heads off to school. I will help Solo with his math. Later I have a community meeting. Then dinner at my house. My globe of influence. What will it feel like to stand next to me today? Like standing next to a volcano, uneasy and unsure? Or like being in a wide space, where anything is possible?
This is what it means to try to live a whole, God-filled life. To try to be all that he has made you, to walk around easy in the knowledge of being loved and not being fearful that anyone can take it away. It is contagious. From that space, that globe of influence, where we are influenced by God’s ways, the sacrificial extravagance of Jesus, rather than fearful self-protection, we really can do anything. It’s a life-long journey, I know. It’s one I am committed to, though I fail all the time.