Psalm 82:3 “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.”
As I walk down dusty, clay roads to and from school, the library, and church, I notice there are gates attached to large walls around houses. This isn’t anything I’m unaccustomed to. In the United States people live in gated communities, or they have fences intentionally put up around their homes to secure their privacy. It wasn’t until this week that I noticed something unique about these gates/walls. Most of these gates and walls have interesting features on them. Some of them have wire, others have spikes, and still others have bits of glass.
I’m not entirely certain why they are this way. Maybe it’s for safety, maybe for privacy, maybe it’s for aesthetic reasons. I honestly may never know, but I do know that frequently when I walk by these places, I think of the song Jesus is on the Wire performed by Peter, Paul and Mary. (If you do not know this song, I strongly recommend listening to it and reading the story behind why it was written.)
In thinking of this song as I walk by these gates, I think of how often people leave topics on the preverbal fences never to be discussed. These topics that are often seen as too taboo or uncomfortable for those with privilege to want to approach. We often don’t realize that these topics represent aspects of people’s lives. As I walk by I think of my YAGM year and who I will advocate for internationally. I think of those who bear a story they can never tell. I think of people who are victims of violence. I think of those who are victims of circumstances beyond their control. I think of children taken from families, and vice versa.
I feel a deep passion in my gut. It’s unshakable.
I keep walking, greeting people as we cross paths. I realize they don’t know what is buzzing in my head. They may not know where I’m going, or who I am. They just know that I greeted them and that we shared a smile.
It’s hard to think sometimes that this is life. My life is fairly simple here. I don’t have to think about homecoming, Halloween costumes, making plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break adventures. I cook one to two meals a day, I read, sometimes tutor, watch a movie here, or there, and volunteer at a school five days a week. It’s a life I could get used to, but I know in this space of routine and comfort it is easy to become complacent.
It’s like a ship safety kept in a harbor. It could be made with amazing craftsmanship, catch the eyes of all the passersby, have all the potential in the world, and stay docked in that harbor forever. This is a nice idea, but this is not what ships are meant for. Ships are meant to cast off. Staying docked is a waste of their purpose and their potential.
I’m not completely certain what my life looks like after YAGM. Actually, I’m not even entirely certain what my life looks like after October. I don’t even know how I’ll advocate for others in the United States, but this is okay. I do know a few things.
I know that I’m in the country of Rwanda. A country that I’m beginning to see as a second home. I know that I miss working with youth like crazy. I know that at times I grieve the loss of big things in my life. (Weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc.) I know that I’ve learned so much from people here and cant wait to share my experiences more fully with loved ones around the world. I also know that these next few months will pass by quicker than I expect.
I think I’m finally understanding why when I tell people how long I’ll be here, they tell me it is a short time. This is an eye opening revelation for me and yet, tomorrow will still come. I’ll get up at 6:45, take my malaria pill, get dressed, fill up my water bottle, eat something, brush my teeth, and walk to school. I’ll walk by the walls/gates that call me to go, and constantly remind me that Jesus is on the Wire.
These are some of the sites I see as I stroll to various locations. There are many more with gorgeous designs, and intricate details. These images simply give you an understanding of the diversity in design I mention in this blog.