Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 13: Resilience

(This post was written on an airplane returning from Michigan two weeks ago.)

I am reading 'The War of Art' in an attempt to remove myself from the somewhat expected but no less devastating place of "what's next?" We all have our demons, or as the author Steven Pressfield calls them, Resistance. Mine is a fight for confidence and focus marked by victories big and small on the road to a life of meaning.

My return to Africa in 2007, the ensuing scholarship and the plethora of people and projects these experiences exposed me to made me feel alive. I had near daily opportunities to create links between communities and individuals, expanding the reach of a story and a reality bit by bit. All this was focused on experience - on gleaning from the trenches of a developing country where real changes were possible to enhance relationships on a global level and improve livelihoods for all. My two year odyssey came to an end while my understanding was yet beginning, though the call to base from my homeland grew stronger. So I returned and plunged into a place I thought I'd left behind, a place full of "What really matters?" "What am I really good at?" "How do I support myself and do the work I feel called to do?" The greatest of Resistance crept stealthily in until I found myself paralyzed in old fears, worn excuses and shallow professions of "it's just not to be."

Alongside this time I continued to meditate on my 30 days of Asante - a self-assigned desire to pinpoint the gratitude embedded in the last two years and the home I found in Kenya. And as I talk, read, pray and sometimes plead myself out of this dark place of self doubt and unknown corners I rest upon the resilience of my community and friends in Kenya and here at home.

I don't like to trivialize, capitalize or sensationalize other people's stories - but I do learn from them, and whether simple or severe my life these past two years was colored by the stories of children of the streets, women running shoe-string childrens homes, a brave survivor of rape, a number of post election violence survivors, former street boys trying to take responsibility for themselves and others like them, a woman starting an NGO, a recovering alcoholic, a displaced and abused mother and countless business people who started small, worked their butts off and now have the means to give big. All this alongside my family and friends at home, some getting degrees, other starting families, still others losing loved ones or facing the devastating impact of the recession.

Resilience continues to overcome Resistance in these lives, and I'm determined that as I confront my own doubts and downfalls I will find my own resilience and move forward with the strength, humility and focus to step through whichever doors God opens to claim my individual role in this global village - however big or small that role might be.