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.
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.
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.