a holy violence

If we are engaged with the world around us, we will care about that world. We will be passionate about people's needs, our holiness, and God's glory. We will not be still in prayer. We will cry out for mercy with a holy violence. If we are silent, it will be because in our distress, words have failed us.- Tim Chester, Total Church

When I stepped off that plane ten years ago, I had no idea the impact Haiti would have on my conscience. This country, very much in survival mode, changed me and broke me in ways I still have problems describing. I mean, how can you accurately portray the splitting open of a worldview? How can you sufficiently give words to bloated bellies and tiny fingered vice-grips on your arm? So many times I would just stand there in silence. The red dirt beneath my feet, the sweat dripping down my face, the kids yelling and screaming and playing around me. I would stand there and feel the tearing open - the fissure - and I knew I would never be the same.

I'm faced with the same realization now. Days away from Africa, I already feel the breaking. Watching the rain outside my window, I wait for the words to come. At times, it feels I'm grasping at the air - coming up empty just when I feel the itch to get to the keyboard or my journal. I know this trip will change me. I know because it's already working in me - tearing at my securities and comfort.

But I don't want to forget about the here.

I look out my window and realize this holy violence cutting away the dead pieces inside reacts no differently in Austin than it does in Kibera. It sees the poverty. It sees the negative assumptions. It sees the expectations of failure and hopelessness. And it burns for release - for justice.

I just haven't found the words.

Posted on June 9, 2010 and filed under africa, reagan2kibera.