New blog, new season…

11 Apr

Where to begin? Well, let’s start with honest.

I can’t keep writing about the third world anymore. Okay, well I suppose I could considering I think about it all the time. But, I’m not there and I guess I should have thought about that a little bit more when I titled this blog after an African country. Naming it after me might have been a little bit more practical now that I’m no longer in Kenya.

Should I change this to (beth)in[america]? Doesn’t have quite the same ring, now does it?

My new blog is named after me and my name isn’t changing. Might I add that I’m quite proud of moving up in the alphabet, thank you very much. And that makes this blog number four. There was crazy high school Xanga (remember that trend?) blog. There was blog containing my maiden name. There is/was this third world blog. And alas, we have arrived at the creation of my newly married, permanent name blog which can last me in this country or any other. And I do hope there will be others.

Mossy on over here to keep up with me in this new season.

Over and out.

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Remember…

29 Mar

I used to scoop the green of avocados by spoonfuls when I missed the distant lands of Africa. Months following my internship were spent remembering by a pit and peel and a pinch of salt and a green filled belly.

I remember differently now. I trace the lines of a seam running inches long and I run with it into memory. Sister and I move swiftly down the street, bodies flowing incessantly towards us. I bob behind, feel the heat penetrate my back in the mid-morning light. We are rushing with intention when I feel the catch, hear the tear, twinge the pain, search the culprit.

I find it. A pole, near waist high. A sharp edge protrudes and the tear runs gaping denim, exposing my leg to the bustling morning movement. The white of it glows in contrast. I gasp dismay, clutch leg for cover, clutch sister by her back. I never walk home so quickly.

Weeks pass before the stitches are added. When Mama Evans hands me them, I finger her zig-zag pattern and mouth gratitude for the redemption of the severing. Continue reading

Job reference…

15 Mar

This is perhaps, no hands down, the best job reference I’ve ever been given. Thank goodness someone’s honest about me.

“To be honest, it is with pleasure that I recommend her for any job, since she hasnʼt really worked a day in her life, and itʼs about time she sees how the rest of us live.

Iʼve known Bethany for several years, although weʼve only met in person twice, perhaps three times. And those were group events, where I saw her across the room, or in a crowded van in the middle of Nairobi traffic, as she was hanging her head out the window like a maniac, telling the driver (who happened to have just received her international drivers license that week) if it was clear to change lanes. NO IT WAS NOT CLEAR TO CHANGE lanes. Never is it clear to change lanes in Nairobi, a city filled with lunatic
drivers. Donʼt get me started about those idiotic roundabouts. Continue reading

Run on…

5 Mar

I don’t like the run, though I love the end. I can’t even watch the figures shift. Watching, this slows it down, the pain of a mile feeling a hundred, a minute feeling an hour. I drape covers on the screen, blind myself to the progress of the movement. I simply move, slide myself through songs until the songs end and I know that the distance is enough.

My legs wobble and I dislike that too. The pain doesn’t come for hours, but when it does, I wince at steps and wince at doing it again. But I do; I do it again.

I ask myself in the shower if I am happy, if I feel happy. The question seems as absurd as my answer. I don’t know, I say it as water trickles long streaks. It’s hot, so hot, and when I feel the temperature waning, I remember that it never used to be so searing. On a cement floor in Kenya it was warm, warm enough and sometimes cold. I attempt to recall all of the things that could and should and ought to make me happy. I emerge blotched red.

Some many inquiries ask of it. Am I… happy to be back, happy to be married, happy with this and happy with that? I mumble answers, stumble and trip over them. They seem so unfamiliar, foreign to the soul. Continue reading

Prosperity…

20 Feb

I want to write, mean to write, come to write. Not here, but on the draft that I pray one day be bound. I can’t speak there, though I want to, mean to, come to, because my mind is on.  Overdrive static, hum, buzz. Contorted thoughts and misread symbols and cues from a thousand different arenas pull me.

I can’t shake it. I’ve heard it twice in twenty four hours. Twice in sequence with the maker of the universe. Twice declared that it’s what he wants for me, for us, for others. The one slip word sends me into a tizzy.

Prosperity.

It’s hard to swallow down and breathe at the same time. The word, it’s connotation, seems so thick and long, but it’s at the end of so many’s longings. Because this equals this, and if you do that, God will give you this.

Boom it out. “God wants to prosper you. Keep you. Make his face shine upon you.”  I’ve heard it literal, material, not just in this nation. Even in a third world one. A man in a frayed suit said it to a community living on less than two dollars a day. “The car that you want, it’s inside of you. The house that you dream of, you can have it and God has it for you.” Continue reading

Update as of February 9th…

9 Feb

Dear friends and family,

A few hours ago, tired eyes of grey sliced open and I was greeted with a toothless grin as I reached deep into the walls of a crib. She gurgled and on our journey downstairs she became absolutely fascinated with the cord of my sweatshirt. I couldn’t help but smile at her intent focus to eat my clothing, which is apparently delicious. My life as of late has been about caring for this small soul who has six months of life under her chubby little legs.

It’s obscure in some ways. A great deal of love and attention goes into watching over just one child. It literally consumes a day quicker than I realize. And yet it wasn’t very long ago that my days were enveloped with love and attention and care towards many more than one. I close my eyes and see the thousands of children in our schools in Kenya, for I am constantly remembering them and the Mathare community.

But I can’t help but feel as though Christ is reeling me back, turning me from the complex to the simple again. The multifaceted and intricate nature of the ministry in Nairobi couldn’t be any farther than feeding one mouth in the course of a day. You would think that the simplicity would make the transition easier. However, it truly is a deprograming process in which I am being reminded daily, if not hourly, that loving and serving Jesus is not about the figures, but the faithfulness behind my movements. Continue reading

Pillows…

7 Feb

I was gripping about someone’s blog the other day, which first of all, is bad blogging character. Most of my complaints were about the shallowness of the material. With the majority of the content being about clothing and home decor, I couldn’t help but cringe at the superficiality of it.

But I didn’t stop at cringing to myself. Oh no, I had to gripe to my better half about it, who in turn didn’t sympathize with me in the least. Instead, he challenged me about my complaints. And this is why I say that he is my better half.

“What else do you expect them to write about?” he asked in the darkness and I felt the first twinge of my error. “They are writing about things that are a part of their lives. Maybe those new pillows really are what’s going on with them.”

“Yeah, but… shouldn’t believers have more things to say than that?” I began my defense with my confidence waning by the seconds.

And the clincher of the whole conversation was acknowledging the normality of life outside of Nairobi, outside of Africa, outside of “service” itself. More so, I had to acknowledge that I was being critical.

I feel the critique in me even still as the stage settings flip in the momentum of this transition.

The peculiar normality of life in Kenya was the waking and working through all of the contexts of a different culture. It was the gut wrenching sights and sounds of poverty mixed with the expected unexpected frustrations and the strangest 8-4 job I’ve ever had in my life. Continue reading