Monday, February 23, 2009

You asked for verbal vomit - here you go!

You asked for it, oddly it all came to me today, in the car, as usual! You cannot say I'm not an open book after this post -

So, pull up an ice-block and lend an ear! (Rudolph quote, not Twilight!) :)

First, some background information:

A very dear friend of mine was discussing a troubling situation that had to do with a topical discussion at a church group regarding "finances." I'm paraphrasing, but it came down to talking about being blessed. Are those with fortunes (meaning a decent home etc., you and I basically) more blessed because we do good deeds. Hell no, if you ask me. And that was her point of view. There was MUCH more to it and I don't want to reveal her name because I'm totally butchering the encounter. The "group leader" at the church group took the opposite stance and starting pounding his bible etc. and belittling my friend in front of the others to make his point, quoting scripture etc. I loathe people like that.

FF to right after reading this from my friend; I was driving and got over being angry at her leader for talking that way to her and began to think about the actual premise of the argument. Why are we blessed the way we are. Why? And not others.

The thoughts that soon followed are what shaped my day and put into perspective how things have unfolded for me over the past six months home.

Why? Why? It's a question that has come into my head more times since April 2007 than ever in my entire life. So many times I've been able to work through questions and they've been answered, worked through in my head, resolved in the end. I'm a black/white girl, not much gray, not this time, not with this one. Why are we "blessed" and not them (Ethiopians/third world countries?)

Yes, others in third world countries are blessed, differently. Their souls are rich and strong. Their gifts are small but great. Their spirit is beyond. But I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that they have such happy lives every day, blah, blah, blah. They ARE blessed by the grace of God, but they struggle.

But I have to say, it's friggin' ugly that my daughters mother couldn't even feed her and therefore had to say goodbye. I'm sorry, that's not blessed, it's called suffering and I DON'T KNOW WHY!!! I see no answer ever coming from "why" when I reflect on our life altering trip to Ethiopia last August. So many why's, too many to count.

Then, it began, I really started to relive our trip, the ugly parts of the trip that I've stuffed down into some black hole in my head and heart. A few scenes that I replay in my head until I want to drown. It's so f*ucking disgusting to see the daily lives of people who STRUGGLE SO much. It makes me want to throw up just thinking of it again. Two scenes in particular that I haven't shared with you. I hate it. Still don't want to verbalize it because I cannot make it the horror that it was with just words.

Blessings, how can you count them? What are they? Faith, community, health, family, prosperity?? What are they? What are blessings... and to whom? They differ from person to person... And I have too many to count.

Figuring out my place on this planet is something new, a new challenge. I fear it and welcome it at the same time.

I want to go back to Ethiopia so bad. Being all over the place is not a new thing for me (like you don't know that one.) On one hand I value everything and everyone around me 100 times more since our trip, but then again, I could give a shit about anything because it's not important, these blessings, material things, who cares!

And lest not forget, I got completely encapsulated by a book series, a young adult series for that matter. It has become my escape, my treat, and I love it so much. I'm either deep and reflective or shallow and a twelve year old!

This is the odd and other side of this strange coin. I've found my humor again. I have been stuffing it down somewhere over the years without knowing and only recently have I realized it was missing. Regaining humor has brought back a part of myself that I didn't know was gone until it came back. I've laughed so hard, so much lately that it's not uncommon to be in tears of laughter. My mood and wit have been challenged and raised up and up

What I came away with today is this. This is my chance to find a way to serve others. I have the golden opportunity! It's so clear! I'm blessed beyond measure, and I need to do something with it, life is changing, the ground is shifting beneath my feet, it's pretty cool!

*Tessa has NOTHING and EVERYTHING to do with this realization. It is SHE that has made me/us look at her everyday and wonder how we ever got the priveledge to raise her. She's exceeded our expectations as a human being on more levels ever imaginable. Which is why I often have to question.... WHY. We are not worthy.*


  1. I'm not sorry for asking or writing you today. I think your feelings are valid and speak great truth. Thank you for word vommiting my friend.

    So so so so so confusing how our world here is not what it seems upon coming home from Ethiopia/3rd world and how some of us are chosen to see what we see and feel what we feel. I feel priviledge to see the bigger picture and much like you parent this awesome kiddo!

    Keep sifting through the muck my will come out stronger than before, but you already know this!! I'll keep bugging you if not! :-)

    Loves loves loves loves,

  2. I loved your verbal vomit. It was so honest and true. And I love that you've found your sense of humor. You have a GREAT sense of humor and I love it. I love you!

  3. This paragaph is stuck in my throat like a lump of everything that I am trying to figure out myself:

    others in third world countries are blessed, differently. Their souls are rich and strong. Their gifts are small but great. Their spirit is beyond. But I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that they have such happy lives every day, blah, blah, blah. They ARE blessed by the grace of God, but they struggle.

    Thank you for your "verbal vomit." I needed to read all of it -- it is as if you dipped into your pensieve with a swirling of what is in my head and typed it out on your blog. And I love you for that (among other reasons). :)

  4. You are an amazing woman and I can't wait to see how you choose to change the world! (Even if it's just by making me laugh, you know that counts. It changes my world daily.) LY! xoxo

  5. I have struggled with the concept of "blessed" for many many years. For instance, I work with children and adults with mental disabilities (some very very severe) and cringe when I hear someone say, "I have been blessed with a healthy child." Because, the not-so-healthy child is also a "blessing." God does not favor one child over the other. I do not believe that God favors with money, with health, with anything. To me, God is love and gives love; God is constant and does not change. Love can be found anywhere and in any circumstance. So I have changed my outlook on "blessings." A "blessing" to me is when you are thankful. Because I believe that when we give thanks, whether it be for life, for friends, for laughter, for another chance, for hope, etc...that is when we walk closest to God. The struggles of the world are what we have to deal with, some much much more than others. It is the biggest responsibility of the priveleged to reach out a helping hand to those that are not. Because in that, there is love. I also do not have profound answers, but I find peace in that in itself...not having to have the answers...just love to give whenever I can. I think you have a hell of a lot of that. I think you are amazing.

  6. Wow, great post. You have summarized the place where I live - this gray place where there is no clear answer to anything. But yet we continue to try to make sense of it and to try to give back all of the "blessings" we didn't deserve in the first place. To those whom much has been given, much is required.... those words always challenge me and I know I can never do enough. What is a shame it to let go of the struggle and live as though it were not there. Good for you for struggling. Thanks for this post.

  7. Exactly what I was hoping for from you my friend. I love your heart and the way you think and process your thoughts and feelings.

    Thank you! :)

  8. Good post Lori. My husband actually just preached this last Sunday on the start of the Beatitudes "Blessed are the poor in spirit" and he talked a bit on what the word "blessed" really means and what "poor in spirit" really means. It sort of gave me a whole different perspective on the word. The sermon will be online in case you wanted to listen to it sometime...
    Glad you are posting again! I tagged you by the way, but no pressure to do it. :)

  9. you echo so much of how i feel, too. it's so strange, all of this. Why was i born here, not there? you know, all those crazy questions. i've been thinking about it since i was 12, the first time i witnessed romanian orphanages. why them? not me? one answer that is NOT correct, that i hear all the f-ing time, is that "we're blessed because we're americans and we're moral and good christians." WTF? NOPE. i don't have THE answer, but i know that's not it! i think we americans are actually WORSE off b/c we don't understand (not as much, anyway) the true physical suffering of the poor. maybe we're here to learn how to give up our lives for a bigger picture. who knows?
    thanks so much for your "verbal vomit" (love that phrase :)

  10. I am with you. Loved how you articulate it. You are back!!! I have a feeling that once I am deeper into the process (have a referral, have traveled to Ethiopia, am raising an Ethiopian child as my own...) I will experience the juxtaposition of feelings and emotions. We receive such a gift/honor out of someone else's pain. How can that be right? We then take on an awesome responsibility of making sense of the suffering.

  11. I loved, loved all of your thoughts. It's true. I didn't have near the experience in ET that a lot of other people did. The short amount of time I was there did, however, make me think about things. I think leading up to the trip and reading about others experiences made me think too. I think about what I can do every day...and every day I feel inadequate.

  12. This is such an eloquent post. Thank you for articulating this really difficult subject. I feel like I struggle with it all of the time, but so much more since we have brought Jacob home. I think I feel it the most when I try to describe our trip to ET and our experiences with the people we met. We are blessed beyond words!

  13. Obviously, I have no answers for you. We each need to find these answers for ourselves. But, I've been thinking alot about my daughters' Ethiopian mom lately. Faven and I were just talking about her today. She is a beautiful, wonderful person who wanted her daughters to have a better life and be raised in a christian home. She loved them sooo much that she gave them up. I am definitely not a better person than her and do not 'deserve' more blessings. Why then? I don't know! What next? Definitely something!
    I'm sure God has big plans and will continue to work through all of us!

  14. Amazing post Lori. I love the last - ground shifting beneath your feet.

    Have you read the book Red Letters? If not, I think you would love it right now. It changed my perspective, and thus my life and my path.

  15. I love this post. Adore you Lori! Thank you.

  16. I have been thinking a lot about your post. Verbal vomit is not pretty, but is good. You can spread the virus of wanting to do more for the beautiful people in Ethiopia!
    While we were waiting to travel, our town donated $10,000 to help the people in E. It went to benefit the orphanages and provide a biogas system for Kolfe and fruits and vegetables and meat to Kolfe and Kebebetsehay. It is amazing what a seemingly small amount of money in america can provide in Ethiopia. Also, while we were there, we met many people working for Samaritans Purse. You should look into this! Ryan and Abby would know what you need to do to contact them! God knows the needs of the people in Ethiopia and puts people like you on this planet to help them! Go for it, Lori!!!!

  17. WOW you just "vomited" what I have been feeling since coming home from Ethiopia.... thank you for I am going to go read what your friend wrote....

  18. I am late commenting, but I love this post so much. I have so many of the same feelings and it is so nice to have others to share that with, others who understand.

  19. Lori,

    I also have been struggling with this for months even before we left fro Addis. God has shown us a lot. Long story short, we put our home on the market the day we left to get our little one. We hope to downsize and help more in whatever ways God directs us. I still don;t know what all it means but I will follow Gods will and He will show me what to do next. when I get some sleep I will blog about some of our findings and a ministry that we are going to support in Africa

  20. Woa, who's the momma bear now? haha
    Seriously, thanks for sharing.