more than fine.

In the spring of 2003, my life changed dramatically. Tracing back experiences that have shaped who I am, this is where it begins. This is where my time in Haiti & the burning in my heart grew wings & threatened to push me over the edge.

I had just completely broken off contact with my boyfriend of two years. It was one of those horribly unhealthy on-again-off-again-I-hate-your-guts type of relationships, and it had killed any sense of feeling I had left inside. When I broke it off, something inside of me woke up.

It was the spring of 2003, and Switchfoot's Beautiful Letdown had just been released.

There is absolutely no way I can tell you just how much this album meant to me and my spiritual walk. It was my first taste of taking a second glance at the world & realizing everything is not okay. I had all of these dreams...all of these hopes & fears & something inside of me (SOMEONE inside of me...) kept saying,

"there's more...there's more...there's so much more than what you see..."

I didn't know what to do or how to handle these thoughts that were parading themselves through my mind & heart. I just knew something was going down & that I needed to be ready. God was calling me to a different life - a dangerous life - one of reckless faith.

While this new thought process was churning inside of me, something was happening thousands of miles away.

It was the spring of 2003, and three guys were about to travel to Africa & find a story that would eventually change the way my generation looked at the world.

I wouldn't know this for another two years.  Those two years held a lot of meaning for me. Graduating from college, moving back home, preparing for a wedding, landing my first teaching job, getting married, moving to a different city, finding a new job...

All of these changes - good changes - exciting changes, & still that voice pestered me in the silence.

"there's more...there's more...there's so much more than what you see..."

I have COUNTLESS blogs over the past six years which include lyrics from Switchfoot's Beautiful Letdown. It resonated deep inside my soul - this truth that we were meant to live for so much more & that yes, I wanted to be more than fine & bent on getting by. I wanted my life to mean something, dangit. Haiti's dirt  had gotten in my bones.  In my sleep I would see the Haitian woman wiping tears from my eyes & the kids trying to pull the whiteness off my skin.

I wanted more.

My second year of teaching at the high school my students were in the middle of Elie Weisel's Night and I was having a difficult time battling their apathy. I remember asking, "What is Weisel's purpose in writing this memoir?"

They responded with, "Well, to remember. To never forget so something like this doesn't happen again."

"And has it?" I asked.

" When does the bell ring again?"

I remember going home that night peturbed. It was then, in that moment of wondering what I was even doing as a teacher, that I remembered channel surfing in the fall & landing on Oprah with these three guys talking about Africa. They were part of this group called...Invisible Children. I googled the name & at the time, they had no website. But, I knew they had a documentary & I knew there would be articles. So I printed off about five articles speaking of n. Uganda as well as Darfur.

We read the articles & I got the documentary from one of the geography teachers. It was the first time I hadn't screened a video before watching it with the class.

Imagine with me if you will. I'm sitting here in my classroom, watching this film about kids who have been abducted & brainwashed as child soldiers.  Imagine me weeping as Jacob tells Jason he would rather die "even now" that he has escaped the rebel army. Imagine me wanting to reach through the screen & take his hand as he begins weeping over his brother who has been killed in the conflict. It's an authentic scene of just how messy life can get sometimes, and I was broken.

There's this scene in a series I read where one of the characters finds his purpose. He describes it as the tethers breaking their hold on him & steel rods taking their place - forever connecting him to this one moment in history. This one purpose. He would never be able to shake it & he never would want to.

This is that moment for me. As I sat there, watching this movie for the first time with my students and laughing through tears at the perfect soundtrack of Switchfoot sprinkled throughout, and as we discussed the implications and got the Texas roadies to come to the high school for the US tour....I heard that familiar voice in the background...

"this is it."

Three years later & Invisible Children has ruined my life in the best way possible. The more I become involved, the more I believe in this cause & what we are trying to do. I mean, we are actively ending a war.

                                                                             ...through peace.

And as I sit here typing, I am becoming more & more frustrated because it's almost impossible to find words that describe just how much my life has taken a turn over the past five years. No words.

There's a song I keep playing over & over in my head that mentions "you've set this heart on fire..." and I think more than anything THAT describes my life since 2003. Sitting in my car, listening to the announcement from President Bush that "shock & awe" has been completed & feeling desperately useless, not knowing there are three guys on their face in a garage begging for God to bring them a story. Not knowing this story will impact me so greatly that my whole life is changed. 

We were meant to live for so much more. And even though this entry is disjointed & poorly structured, know this: looking back through my life, I see the hand of God pointing me in different directions. I see Him prompting Russ to send me the Switchfoot CD. I feel Him lighting the tiny flame of discomfort over my apathetic lifestyle as a 20 year old. I see Him leading me to BHS, to teaching kids who would be open to let their lives become wrecked by one solitary film and in the process, inspire me through their determination to end the war & rescue these children. I see Him paving the road by opening doors for conferences where I meet people who will open more doors which will forever change my husband & me. 

I see myself finally accepting a life that is more than fine while continually wrestling with the notion that what I see on a day to day basis is all there is in this world.

Because it's not. Because He has set this heart on fire & because for as long as I live, I aim for my life to be more than just okay.

Posted on April 18, 2009 and filed under story.