Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 13 - I think?

We officially have a down day.  The internet has been down for a couple of days.  Somehow Tanya managed to squeak in a blog entry and I used my internet time to IM with Tessa and Lacey on Facebook while responding to so many birthday greetings.  I'm definitely due for an entry so here goes.  

This morning our guest house is boiling water to drink. It needs to rain.  Meanwhile, thunder rolls in the distance.  As thirsty as I am, I know the rain is coming.  I can hear it in the thunder.  I can feel it in the air.  I can even see it in the distance.  Yet , I still thirst and work to purify something that will soon 'purely come'. That describes my spirituality and frankly, my theology during this season of my life.  I suppose that may seem all to cryptic for any good use, but for now it will have to do.  

(On a pragmatic note: Don't panic, I can take a long walk down a steep hill and go buy some bottled water if I choose.  That is a luxury most of this continent can't afford.  As we speak, hundreds die of cholera in an outbreak in Zimbabwe.)  

But feel free to drop me a line if you choose.  I'd love to hear your interpretations of my metaphor.  It may be quite helpful for me!

Most of you know from various forms of media that Tracy Esther Nakayiza is now a "Romack".  This is great news!  We don't know whether to laugh or cry half of the time.  So, there is plenty of both.  Funny little things get to you.  Like...let's just say, having to write this.   
Yesterday, we drove to Tracy's school.  We didn't want to enter the solid iron gate because we didn't want to disrupt the school and interrupt what their activities.  But they opened the gate and Tracy saw us and we needed to just keep driving.  (Our real destination needed to be the Administrative Offices not the school.)  She started waving and her face lit up, yet she didn't know why we were not stopping for her.  All she could know is that we promised that we were coming back.  That kind of got to me a bit.  See what I mean?   Then when we returned for her.  I could see some of the other children playing and talking and they didn't know how close we really were.  Kids like Travisan and Ronald.  So close, yet thinking that we were still so far away.  I wondered how many times I have thought similarly toward God.  Thinking that his love and view of my life and circumstances was real.  Yet, his love was  from such a distance that it couldn't touch me at the point of my present need.  I don't believe in a far off God anymore.  I do believe that he doesn't have to intervene or interfere with my circumstances to be present in them.  God is more than a superman deity that swoops down to save the day, only to retreat to an unidentifiable identity and locale.  
Back to the story.  We received Tracy's passport and went to go pick up our girl from school.  We took her Grandma back to her house after driving various court documents to various locations.  All of which involved harrowing traffic and a steady dose of 4 wheel drive.  We reached 'home' with Tracy having  just enough time to eat some Top Ramen and pick up some Ugandan friends for the evenings activity. 

 Adult "children" of past African Children Choirs were banding together to reunite for a Christmas Outreach.  They call their ministry "One Voice".   Last night we went to watch their Choir performance.  As you can imagine, it was great!!!  Tracy sat next to us singing and dancing to every song.  Africans can even dance to O Holy Night.  It's true.  What a moving night.  All of the kids from the school came to the church to see this show!  They filled up a dozen rows in front and eagerly watched their upper classmates and Aunties and Uncles of the present and of old, perform.  The kids absolutely loved it.  Some of the performers were their school teachers and house moms and dads.  Can I tell you how refreshing it was to watch a Christmas pagaent that wasn't brashly american?  It was powerful to watch a choir of adult orphans from a land known for political oppression singing about redemption and the restoring ministry of Jesus.  A movement in which the Messiah didn't come to rescue the oppressed wearing a cape, but rather became one of the oppressed wearing a crown.  A crown of thorns on a roman cross. (The performance wasn't really about any of that, it's just that I have a very active imagination!) The performance was moving and full of talent.  Tracy's favorite part was the dancing shepherds.  What do you expect from a dancing 9 year old? 
Tracy asked as the perfomance was nearing it's climax if she could go and get Marjorie and Travisan.  She said that they would have to leave quickly after the performance was over.  (If you are unaware, Majo and Travisan are kids from the choir.  The former stayed with us and our church sponsors Travisan) Of course, I said, "Yes" and she was off to go look for our buddies.  Travisan showed up first, grinning from ear to ear.  Then Majo with her unmistakable smile.  We talked about the church, clubhouse, and how they did on their exams they just completed.   We took some pictures and I told them that we are still praying for them and think of them often.  The performance was over and here came the rest of the choir that stayed in so many of your homes.  (I'm presently having another one of 'those moments'.)  They looked good and happy to see us.  Excluding Ronald who looked like he had been rolling around on the ground during recess.  Which he probably had.  I would expect no less!)  They've all grown and matured, but were full of love and life and seemingly a bit more comfortable on their own turf. I had a good heart to heart with Ronald and we said, "Good bye."  Another gut wrenching day was coming to a close.  We got back in our four wheel drive mini van and made our way through the crowded Kampala streets.  It was Friday night in Africa.  With discos thumping, charcoal grills smoking, AIDS killing, a continent longing.  Longing for redemption.  
Into that world, the Christ child comes.  Not first to save our world, but to enter it.  Emmanuel.   God, not simply for us, but first with us.  
If no one else has, may I be first to say this season, "Merry Christmas." 



Julia said...

I don't think your metaphor was cryptic. We can't make the rain come no matter what we do. We can choose our response to it while we wait and once it comes though. I tend to wrongly think that if I fret enough about something in prayer then God will finally see my seriousness and respond the way I have worried/fretted/implored he should act. Instead he simply says, "Do not worry, just ask me. Just give it to me. Trust me enough to have thought it through better than you can think it through with all your scheming." That perspective is easy for me to maintain when everything is going smoothly. Not so easy when it still hasn't rained.

Connie Mace said...

Thank you for drawing us into your "moments" and giving us some of our own--loved the metaphor-cm

pam johnson said...

We lost the b-ball game last night, but boy does real life put things into perspective. Seeing the girls at school smileling and Emmy at the concession stand in front of us with Tom Knudson talking so sweet to her and calling her sweetheart while teasing her was just a reminder or how our church family takes care of each other. Tessa gives the morning announcements so great. I know they miss you two to death but are ok. Love and prayers to all of you,

Smith's Lights said...

Jim- if you go back to the school or see any kids, please tell Base Choir kids hello for me. Travisan, Dora, Martin, Vivian, Stella, and a few other of Tracy's choirmates were on tour with me. Send them much love from Auntie Jami and Auntie Sarah! Thanks for sharing!

Smith's Lights said...

P.S. This is Jami in Spokane. I'm not sure why it doesn't show my name...

Rowena Jenn said...

Jim, this blog just made me feel super guilty for worrying so much about the power going off last night while I was getting ready for a work little are our worries, sometimes. :)
I spent most of today with Tessa and Lacey, having super awesome fun. I'm certainly praying for your safe and timely return, with Tracy--and, you should know, so are friends of mine that have never met you, just through a few "What are you reading" convos at work and school as I perused this and Tanya's blog.

Miss you guys. Hope to see you all here again SOOON.

Becky said...

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.
A little girl said, 'I know all about adoption, I was adopted..'
'What does it mean to be adopted?', asked another child.
'It means', said the girl, 'that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!'

I read this this morning in a forward and I TOTALLY thought of you and Tanya. Isn't it true that the growth of your family started in your WHOLE families "Hearts" and no ones tummies!! I love the heart of children. They are SO pure and HONEST! Nate and I have been following your and Tanya's Blog entries and also have forwarded them to his side of the family. That way they can be praying for a safe return for all 3 of you.

Love you and see all of you soon,