Friday, July 30, 2010

Who You Are.

Death has become a peculiar thing.

It's something that people do not like to think about - especially Americans. As a self-centered nation, we don't think that it will ever really happen to us, or even happen around us. And yet, it does. Every single day, it does.

And because we don't think about death, we don't think about the consequences of how we behave.

"What do you mean I have lung cancer?!"

"Well, sir, you have smoked for the past 30 years of your life..."

Because we don't think about death, we don't consider our everlasting impressions.

"I hate you".

"Well, sweetheart, I don't hate you."

Because we don't think about death, we don't imagine what it will be like to suffer in the end. Maybe from cancer... maybe from old age... maybe from a terrible car accident. Either way, no one really talks about it, and in the end, too often than not, life is not treated with dignity.

I recently watched the movie, "Wit", and was surprised at how accurate the film portrayed hospital life. Unbelievably accurate. The movie is based on a middle-aged woman dying from cancer. She agrees to be a part of very intense chemotherapy treatments, but to no avail. This woman goes from being a highly esteemed scholar, to just another "no-name" in a hospital full of people who are "too busy". In the end, there are two main conclusions:

(1) This woman has a revelation that she could have been kinder throughout her life, and regrets all the time she spent working on intellectual "wit", instead of building any kind of relationship. The person with her at her death (and subsequently, the only visitor she ever received) was her advisor from her PhD studies.

And (2), as the hospital messes up her DNR status due to a faulty resident, she is stripped of her clothes and CPR is begun. This pursues even though it is obvious to the audience that she has been dead for quite a while now. In death, not only is she alone, but her dignity is taken from her. The only person who is remotely close to being her advocate is her beloved nurse, who has taken great care of her. The nurse yells for everyone to leave as she shows them all the DNR. Everyone makes their remarks under their breath, which sound so childish as the watcher has become close to this now, dead, woman. The nurse covers her up, and tries to fix the situation as best as possible. This flashes the watchers brain back to 20 minutes prior when the resident chuckles and asks the beloved nurse with an arrogant tone, "What do they even teach you in nursing school?"

Life goes on for everyone. The woman is remembered for her scholarly contribution. There are no children, no friends, no lover... nothing. Now, I cannot say this in itself is a bad thing. An individual chooses how their life is going to play out (most of the time), and so we are able to choose what we are to be remembered for. And so I leave you with this last and final thought:

Who you are in this life, will be utterly obvious, in your death.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nate Henn: Forever in Our Hearts.

With the Tragic Death of Invisible Children's, Nate Henn, I am reminded of how short, and fleeting, life is. I didn't know Nate personally, but when you become involved with IC, it's kind of like a sorority/fraternity; everyone is family. I may not have known Nate, but he was family to me, and to so many of us. I spent today mourning the loss of Nate, praying for his family, my friends within the IC staff who lost a co-worker, Nate's girlfriend, everyone affected by this tragedy. I surfed the web for any sign of a story that would dispute what had already been broadcasted throughout the world. I very much wanted Nate to be alive and breathing once again. I sought comfort through God's word, and asked Him to give peace to so many. But mostly, I sat inspired by Nate's life, and felt ready to take action, to continue the fight that Nate ultimately has died for.

Nate worked with IC in San Diego, was a Roadie, and will forever be remembered as "Oteka" - Strong One. He was 25, and had finally made it to Uganda, which had been a long time dream of his. To all of our devastation, Nate was killed while watching the final game of the World Cup on a Rugby Field in Kampala. The people responsible were terrorists - suicide bombers to be exact. The ocean deep irony is what pierces my heart, as I think about what Nate was fighting for, and how he died. Is "peace", "love", or "justice" ever a bad thing? Is "hate", "murder", or "genocide" ever a good thing? With everything that Nate was, he was fighting against the cause of his death.

Not only was Nate killed in this horrendous attack, but 74 other people were as well. Within the 74, mostly Ugandan's were taken from us, which is also very much like 74 family members being taken as well. If you love Invisible Children, then you loooove Uganda and her people.

In Nate's honor, I also want to take a moment to remember THE actual bombers. Christ tells us to love our enemies, and seek peace. These bombers... "they do not know what they are doing"... as they are brain washed, and raised to be killers, just like the army that Nate was fighting against (LRA). We must remember to pray for these radical terrorists, as they are still thinking that it is a wonderful thing to kill Ugandans and Americans.

To everyone's ultimate shock, we also got wind of the news that Nate's brother was in a plane crash on his way to his parents home. We praise God tonight that Nate's brother is fine. Yet, we also mourn for the pilot who was killed, and for the co-pilot who is in critical condition.

Lord, how much more can this family handle?

What an eye opening day.

"Nate worked with us at Invisible Children for a year and a half and leaves behind a legacy of honor, integrity, and service. From traveling the United States without pay advocating for the freedom of abducted child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s war, to raising thousands of dollars to put war-affected Ugandan students in school, Nate lived a life that demanded explanation. He sacrificed his comfort to live in the humble service of God and of a better world, and his is a life to be emulated."

Nate >>>

Your life will never be looked at as "in vain". People will remember you as an activist, peacemaker, Christ serving, loving, giving, and genuine man. You will forever be remembered in people's hearts who you never have even met. People will be inspired by you, and what you have done in your short life. You will never, ever be forgotten.

Nate's family is asking for donations to be made to a fund that will go towards another generation of young kids who want to go on the road to spread the good news about IC. Find more here.

And if for some crazy reason I have never talked with you about IC, contact me and let me share with you... in honor of Nate.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nail in a Tire.

I have the worse trouble with cars.

Every single time I have extra money, something goes wrong. So now, I plan for it. I had worked a bunch of over time and I knew my paycheck was going to be significantly larger than normal, and so I planned to get new tires (booooring). I am taking a trip up north for my birthday in August, and I knew that 2 of my tires were not in the best shape.

But you all know how it is - once the money is in the bank, the LAST thing you want to buy is tires. So, the plan was to procrastinate. Telling myself how I could make it 14 hours round trip with unhealthy tires. God had other plans...

God basically just came down from the sky, put a nail in my tire, and led me off of the freeway safely. First off, the nail was in one of the hurt tires, so I don't have to get 3 replaced. Second, now I am forced to get new tires for the safety of myself and my friends. Third, God had it pop right by a police station so I had somewhere of a nice place to park and wait for the AAA guy (I don't think God had planned for the drunk guy who wanted to be my boyfriend, and said if the tow truck guy never came, he could have fixed my tire)... but I was still safe.

I have never been more calm about a popped tire in my life, because I just knew it was... right.

And even when the drunk guy kept asking me where "my man was to help me", I finally said, "I can take care of myself." To which he replied, "Ohhhh guuurllll, you like a Beyonce independent woman or somethin' or whaaaat?" "Exactly", I replied. "A Beyonce Independent women is what I am."