Monthly Archives: August 2013

my happy place

I wanted to write a follow up blog to my last one (which you can read here).

My perfect discomfort is one of celebration and lament and so recently, my lament has been for where Manenberg finds itself in terms of division amongst its people. However, I felt like it was important to share my more normal perfect discomfort, if you will. Because you see, for me, Manenberg is more often than not, my celebration place.

Manenberg is where my family is (well, minus one or two), Manenberg is where I am safe, where my identity is fought for and where I am supported.  Manenberg is where I see broken young people restored to Jesus, where I see people leave behind lives of drugs and abuse, where I see young people become adults who love their kids, who get permanent jobs and who are learning what it means to support someone from a similar background to them.

medals

Manenberg is where I see community leaders try to wrestle through some of their issues for the good of the community, where I see a heart for prayer stirring, where I see gang leaders smile at the funny praying people and where I get to drive around a toot my horn at “hardened criminals” who burst into smiles because they are desperate to be looked at like a human.

It’s not that I don’t see the brokenness or have places of lament, but more often than not, this is my happy place.

Celebration and lament is not always defined by what we see or what we hear but where God stirs us into and right now, I’m stirred into dreaming for a Manenberg that values itself as much as God does, that is rebuilt physically, spiritually and emotionally and whose reputation is one of life and love.

Because I see it. What do you see?

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perfect discomfort

I just got married.

Life is good: my family spent time over here in South Africa with me, I had a stonking party to celebrate my covenant before God with Lloyd, my Manenberg/Warehouse/Cape Town/Belfast/Edinburgh/Kraaifontein family joined together as one and I am happy. Lloyd and I are enjoying the novelty of the “wife” and “husband” names we now carry, we’re figuring out how to live well together…I now eat breakfast every day because my lovely husband makes it! I am at peace.

wedding fun

But this is only one part of my life, a big part, but not the only part. The other part is my community, friends, family and work in Manenberg…and Manenberg is at war. Manenberg is not at peace, at least not in the physical. I must confess, for the first few weeks after honeymoon, this tension messed with my head. I didn’t know whether to be dancing for joy, or weeping. I would work with a backdrop of bullets ringing in my ears, I would drive around Manenberg, constantly checking for the sound or sight of a boy with a gun, I would stand on the street corners giving out ribbons for peace, praying for people who have been caught in the crossfire, praying for those creating the crossfire…and then I would drive home.

darkness

Switching off isn’t really an option for my brain and so when I arrive home to my new husband, my new home, to a hopeful future…the reality of war continues to ring in my mind. Thankfully, I have a very patient husband who knows me and knows how to help me not stay in unhealthy weeping and mourning but move to a place of celebration amidst it. And that’s it. This tension between war and peace, between celebration and lament, between love and dealing with fear is where I am called to be.

This is my perfect discomfort.

I don’t believe that God wants me to stay in lament so as to not celebrate goodness, or to celebrate so as to hide from injustice and so I choose both. I choose to laugh until I cry, and cry until I can’t anymore, and to dance with joy and to dance in war because these are the things that push back the darkness. I am a child of light and so I choose to walk in it. The light can hold lament and celebration but it cannot hold darkness.

God grant me the wisdom to be more perfectly uncomfortable.


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