Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breaking writer's block isn't always pretty...

I haven't gone this long without writing for quite sometime. For months I've turned words over in my head, jotted notes and ideas for posts and then sequestered them away as life's changing tides polished them into pebbled handfuls too fragmented or outdated to share.

I'm in Seattle now where the cloud cover isn't as bad as I was cautioned when I started sharing my intention to move here. Still, on a sunny day like today I realize how the weather these past two months has forced a fair amount of inside time, urging Seattle-ites (so many transplants like myself) to hibernate in the comfort of hot tea, cozy couches and if lucky, the care of a loved one or treasured friend. I'm halfway through an internship with Rwanda Partners (, enjoying having a hand in a variety of projects and witnessing the grass roots devotion that the team puts into services for thousands of Rwandans in need of jobs, education and deliverance from the tragedies of their past.

As I learn about Rwanda's history I realize how much I've resisted engaging with the reality of the genocide and similar global atrocities that have occurred during my lifetime. While part of my desire to go abroad and immerse myself in the challenges facing the developing world is the need to bear witness, my ability to find faith in the face of evil has always been supported by a devout commitment to focusing on the good. As I allow myself to confront the atrocities of the genocide I am reminded that true faith requires an understanding of evil's existence - that this is where the choice to forgive and choose good becomes most profound. So many individuals in Rwanda have embodied this time and time again in forgiving the people who killed their family members (often neighbors and former friends) and it is humbling to be a part of an organization that gives voice to these incredible examples of faith and forgiveness.

These insights accompany near constant attempts in my daily life to turn over my own experiences, especially in the past three years abroad, and understand how they will inform my next steps. Most of this is messy and unpleasant, enshrouded in failed expectations, shaky dreams and a fair amount of guilt at not having a clear cut understanding of what I'm doing or knowing exactly how to put my energy to the best use. So I've stayed quiet (at least in the blogosphere) and shared these things in more personal spaces in the hopes that I could purge them and move forward into whatever comes next with confidence.

I think I'm getting there - each spoken word, shared conversation and idea helps me re-frame what could or should come next. I am revisited by a deep desire to focus on education and promote scholarship opportunities for Kenyan students. This stems in part from my own scholarship and the relationships it fostered but perhaps moreso frm my still evolving understanding of where economic development is rooted and what must be in place in order to move a country forward. At this point I'm not sure if I'll be able to focus on this professionally or not - but I know it is part of my story and will continue to be (and I've got 5 college-ready kids without school fees in Kenya who will hold me to it if I falter!).

As so much of this journey has simply been about evolving as a person I find things I once feared now resonate amongst some of my deepest desires. The open road still calls but I'm more responsive right now to the idea of shorter stints, craving above all the moment when the momentum of recent years stops bearing such weight and I can say with confidence I am where I am meant to be, putting down roots and simply living life to the best of my ability.