Wednesday, October 07, 2015

This is my life right now...

* I am sitting at my kitchen counter, reading a book called Theological Anthropology for seminary class. No, please don't ask me what the title means. I'm 96 pages in and I'm not quite sure yet. I am creating a chart to keep track of the point of each of the essays and to answer questions posed by the professor on the study guide. No, please don't ask to see the chart. I'm filling it in as best I can, and still I'm not quite sure what it's all about.

* There's a growing pile of unopened mail a few feet away. None of the people in this house like opening the mail. What does anybody get in the mail except bills and sales pitches and checks? (Yes, I have plowed through unopened piles of mail in the past and found checks that we didn't cash. You would think we would figure it out by now - OPEN THE MAIL.)

* Our washing machine broke down on Monday. The repairman came today with new parts - only to discover that one of the parts we need he didn't have. And the total for replacing the broken parts would be more expensive than buying a new machine. Plus he said that all the new fangled front loading machines with flashing lights and display screens  are more likely to malfunction than the old fashioned top loaders with the tall agitator in the middle. Without doing one minute of research, we marched off to Lowe's and ordered the machine he recommended. That's how we roll.

* This past Saturday evening, I went to a beautiful gathering of beautiful women of color, many of whom are kanswer survivors - it was called "Chocolate for a Cure." I went as the "date" of a friend who is finishing up treatment for breast kanswer. She and two other young women received an award called "The Chocolate Warrior Award."

Get it? Chocolate for brown-skinned women. Not only that, there were several vendors there giving out chocolate cupcakes and lollipops and chocolate bark and chocolate bonbons.

The keynote speaker was Dr Jacqueline Walters, an OB-Gyn from Atlanta, who is more famous for her role on the reality TV show, Married to Medicine. She gave an encouraging and challenging address, pointing out the need for us as women of color (with our higher mortality rate from kanswer than our caucasian counterparts) to eat well, to exercise, to reduce our consumption of alcohol, to get to and maintain a healthy weight - all with the goal of reducing our chances of getting kanswer. She herself is a two time survivor, so her words were all the more poignant and powerful. Lovely event.

Here's my only problem with the program: sugar is one of the worst things we can eat. There is research and evidence that points to sugar's detrimental affect on the body, and more specifically about how sugar feeds kanswer. So why is chocolate and all the sugar that goes into it being offered to kanswer survivors? Don't get me wrong; I love sugar. I ate some of that chocolate on Saturday evening. I even brought a few pieces home. But I know I cannot eat it everyday. I know that I ought to be reducing my intake as much as possible.

I had the same frustration and confusion during chemotherapy. Why are there bowls of candy all over the oncologist's offices? Why are canned sodas offered to the people who are receiving treatment? They can offer fresh fruit and flavored water and almonds. Why candy and soda? Perhaps they want repeat customers...

* I sat for forty-five minutes with a Presbyterian pastor from Cuba today, talking about the church there, the seminary he works at, the country of Cuba, challenges related to the economy and the currency, the connections that churches in Cuba have with churches here in the United States, and a book he is writing about reconciliation and healing. All in Spanish. I really, really, really want to go to Cuba now. To see it. To see the people. To encourage them to stay strong, to hold onto their faith and each other, and to be living proof that their struggles matter to us, to me. I've got a growing list of places I want to go: back to Nicaragua and Haiti, to Cuba and India and Equatorial Guinea (did you know that there is a country in West Africa that has Spanish as its official language?) and a Caribbean island with clear water, wide beaches, and ant-free hotel rooms.

* Tomorrow morning, I will join a group of men and women to walk three and a half miles in our beloved city of Charlotte. Continuing conversations about justice and peace, community and conflict, mercy and friendship. We talk about healing and fear and prejudice and having our minds and thought-patterns change so that we can be people who can bring about change in this city and beyond. We Walk Together - it's a simple name. It's a simple idea. It's changing us, drawing us closer to each other, opening our eyes to the lives and experiences of others, and prompting us to reach beyond our comfort zones to touch other lives and other people.

* I find myself praying a lot more these days.
For my family, my children in particular.
For victims of violence - bombings, gun violence, domestic violence, verbal violence.
For those affected by the terrible storms here in the South.
For friends of mine in life transitions, for the children of other friends who are sick, recovering from concussions, and struggling in school.
For my seminary classmates, their studies, their long drives to school.
For those fighting against school inequities here in the city. I have such respect for the hard work that so many people are doing to provide a better education for our children.
For newly elected officials and the ones already in office - for corruption and injustice to cease.
For those who stand in the way of justice and peace, reconciliation and grace.
For those who think more people should have guns and not fewer.
For those who think that aid to people in need should be curtailed.
I pray for wisdom and clarity for those with the power to affect long term, wide reaching change.
I pray for those whose work is short term and narrow in reach too.
I pray for all people everywhere.
Little stuff like that.

This is my life right now.
Full. Busy. Demanding.
I am grateful.

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