Tag Archives: justice

what’s with “under 33″

I’ve met some new friends, people who sometimes see the world a little like I do.  I read their blogs: see much of their minds and hearts exposed, purposefully. They are pretty dang brave. I have read the friend of a friend’s blog all weekend, seeing well why all these far separated souls so love, like really do love one another. But, other than Papa Bear himself, Brother Brian – McLaren, who I just plain love and will defend with all my person whether he is absolutely on point on every jot and tittle or not – because he is so damn brave and beautiful and big-hearted – which is more than I can say for most everybody else weighing in to nay-say. I digress… all my newfound soul mates are under 33.

Why is that I ask. Is it the technology? I am no techie. Just a mom and wife and high school teacher. Why is that? And why do all I come upon of late tell me somewhere soon as I am reading that they too are, have just crossed over or will soon be 33. My generation screams in me – is this a SIGN? Maybe so, maybe not. But I must at least offer a glance toward such.

33 means born in 1977, right? I was in Mrs. Furr’s (God rest her dear, dear soul- you can read about her and you should) fifth grade class. I started babysitting a munchin in the summer of 1977. I guess he is thirty three now, too. Maybe there is no magic behind the number save Jesus’ own apparent decision to spend no more life here human after it either.

Is life really over for those of us who are over 33? Did we die out of ourselves? Did our generation so sell out questioning anything save that which might effect our comfort or  convenience?  Do we question and strain and struggle with anything… or do we so focus our energies on soccer schedules, and seemingly meaningless discussions of our rounds and routine days and of our ever constant desire to protect our children from everything…especially ideas.

I don’t think all have died out, and I so understand the ridiculousness of my sweeping assertion that we have. But in my life, my very specific life, it seems so, it feels so.

I can’t seem to communicate with people over 33. Like we just can’t find the language. We can’t compute with our numerics. We can’t communicate. We miss each other over and over.

It’s so frustrating.

It’s why I call many of those ten years my junior my “friends.” They aren’t the ones I spend most of my time with. They aren’t the people I talk to the most. The aren’t the ones that I love most.

But they are my friends, my comrades and compatriots. They get me, I get them, we see some things together and that’s a kind of friend I don’t long do well without.


To my Friends,

Thank you, thank you for letting this old lady tag along.




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my next life

Everything that I am reading, coming across online, and sensing is that God is preparing me for my next life…

Not my life eternal in heaven ( whatever that may be), but what all these years have been preparing me to do. Sometimes, I have flashes. Sometimes, my safe suburban world is more than I can stand. Sometimes, my soul craves more…more satisfaction, more danger, more importance, more relationship, more risk, more shared suffering, more LIFE.

Sometimes, I cannot pacify it with necessities and normality.

That gives me hope, hope that life is not over for me.

I have fewer years to rear my children than I have fingers, only 6 until my baby graduates from high school.  I have no real attachments: no land, no beloved homestead, no business, no parent as yet unable to care for themselves.

I am 44. My grandmother whose body, build and health I share was 101 when she died. I may well have another life before me.

People say, “Life starts at 50.”

50: it is the year of  jubilee.

So let it be.

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I’m trying to get it all in.

I have some stories I really want to tell to this semester’s Economics students. I have some videos I believe they must see. I won’t have these students again, ever. We will share no senior trip this year. No long lunches nor service days together will give me opportunity to be near and hear them. This is my last shot to share my heart, maybe a little of my mind that has been righted. This is all I have.

Again, today felt like it should. Today, those already tracking kept pace; some of  those on the edge of sobriety, stepped free of the silliness and stayed with me on our journey.  There were many small victories that I dare not fail to recognize and celebrate. For mere seconds, some saw.

Their whispered words betrayed them. Their genuine selves spoke, silently and aloud.

I read eyes really well. Our eyes talk a great deal in that class. Their eyes said, “I’m here, hiding and hearing.”

I’m going to keep pushing, trying to get it all in.

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No one put their head down.

Sometimes, okay often, when I show video from the web, students in my class put their heads down and sleep. I think it’s because they don’t sleep much at night, cursed cell phones and all.

Today, we watched a favorite documentary of mine, “The Day My God Died.” It chronicles the stories of young women trafficked in India. The film is at times brutal in its visual honesty.

They watched and I prayed. I prayed that suffering would sink in a little. I prayed that we would all be so very grateful for the lucky lives we live. I prayed that God would use them and I to stop the wickedness on parade before us.

After a few moments of the video, a couple of students began asking what they could do, what it would cost, and whether they could they adopt those girls.  I answered their questions as well as I could and gave them resource links. I talked about the need for legal help and international pressure, the need for media campaigns to get the word out about the predatory nature of this industry, I talked about the need for staffed homes that could provide the necessary care for the abused young girls and women, and I talked about getting ahead of the curve. More than anything, vulnerable families need jobs, as do the young girls themselves. The need for capital to help women start businesses and afford education is paramount.

It was hard to watch the video – even this my fourth time. I wanted to throw things in my outrage. I wanted to cry out in despair. I wanted to put my head down and imagine it all a dream. But I didn’t and neither did they.

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This is making my heart hurt.

We took some Compassion International quizzes today in Economics. One was about AIDS. The statistics on the contraction and death rates for children are staggering. There were pictures of beautiful HIV positive and AIDS infected children as well.

It’s the one not the many that penetrates the heart.

We saw statistics of poverty and health and abuse. We talked about child trafficking and that the majority of child deaths are caused by things like smoke and bad water and contaminated food.

Some hurt for the first time, some let the pain steal into them. Some cried out that it hurt.

“Good, I’m trying to help make you both better,” I thought to myself.

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I sort of hated to do it…

I knew it would happen, I knew it was coming. It’s been peeking its head around corners as I approach, showing itself a little time to time. I knew it would soon be upon them, but it hurt to watch it make its formal introductions.

When I read the book this summer at the pool, I knew I would have to share it in class. Maybe I couldn’t get the whole book into them, but I had to read that story.  They don’t know much about treachery and treason. They don’t really know what it is to have those that they love surrounded or sold out. We rarely come anywhere near capital “D,” Despair – systematic, crushing despair.  Their and my “worse” day anecdotes aren’t within the universe of the kind of horror and unmolested wickedness the story calmly relays. They pay cinematographers to scare them – because their fears are few.

Adulthood sat down and said hello today in my classroom. It didn’t offer them credit or give them a voter registration card or a draft card. It just told them something that is very hard to hear – the whole story. It wasn’t the glamorized, or softened or sweetened (with a big slice of Apple pie story). The plain story showed up today. It was brutal to share it, to watch them involuntarily twist and turn away  internally, like we all do.

Some swallowed hard and said, “Okay, I will be human, however much it hurts. I will not  turn my ear or  turn up the volume of my ipod.”  Some began to grapple with the how of that. Some turned away to grow colder and less.

I remember such a critical mass moment – when posture and action became the yardsticks of faith, not beliefs and quippy answers. I remember choosing (relenting might be better), not much older than they, to let God show me what was and what He thought about it, and wished to do about it. I remember the press of thousands of other ways of seeing and perceiving and walking out my life…And I remember in anguish crying out, “God, where, where else can I go? ”

At a certain point, the child concedes to something more knowledgeable if not knowing.  That acknowledgement is the entry gate. Adulthood begins when we acknowledge His sufferings – all around us.

Then Good and  Evil assail our opening eyes and we understand why Genesis God so sought to save that meal for Himself. When we know, too, we are twisted and pierced as well.

“Crude,” by Sonia Shah is an important bit of journalistic literature. Well worthy of a read.

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I like to make things happen

I was talking to a class of mine today, a class full of young people who I have come to love very much, some of them like they were my own. I was talking about how wonderful it was to hear of a need, back when I was young and rich, and to be able to fill that need or make something happen with a check. Being diligent with their money could afford them a great blessing, being able to give.

I have never made very much money ( by US standards). Teachers will pay you to let them teach if the venue is sweet. I’ve had some sweet scenarios. But I discovered a long time ago how much more exciting it was to send and start than to spend. It really is.

For a visionary like me, there’s not much better than getting something that I can see, born. I like birthing things. Pregnancy was easy for me and the births of all four of my kids were a breeze. It was almost too easy. Now rearing them has nearly killed me. I’m not so good there.

Anyway, I don’t tell this to brag. I just like to start things.  I will never remember your birthday, nor bring you a perfect present, nor notice your new haircut. I probably won’t check on you if you are sick, much less drop you by dinner. I am a horrible hostess, a terrible room mom, and I make costumes and creative necessities the night before needed. I am not, in so many ways, giving. But I like to start things and people off on things that they should pursue and do. So I try to whenever I can.

I watched the eyes of a student in my class as I relayed the wonder and joy of being able to give. And I saw him, not too far off from now, maybe even tomorrow, using his intelligence and discipline to start things, important things like building wells, and schools and vaccinating a whole village. I saw him going and seeing the need and then sending answers with others who would stay. I saw him content and full of life, always on the lookout for something worth starting.

You’ll see, too.


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