The good news is that I am now successfully streaming American TV in Rwanda. So long books! *For those of you concerned about the legality of such an endeavor. I’ve made a determination that it’s my constitutional right as an American citizen to watch America TV anywhere in the world. End of story.*

It’s apparently some sort of twisted compliment to tell people that they look fat here. Yesterday, one of my Rwandan friends said I looked like I gained “about 2 kilos.” For the record, I did not. But even if I had, I tried to explain to him that as an American woman, that’s the meanest thing you could possibly say. While I appreciate the fact that skinny woman are not as desirable here, my American brain can’t be ok with looking fat. Alas.

It’s impossible for me to grasp that it’s freezing cold in Chicago and that Christmas is a week away. I feel completely cut off from the holiday. There are a few decorations around town, and we have stockings hung. I listen to Christmas music. There’s a bit of a time warp here with the lack of seasons and weather change (to my vantage).

BB is returning from Tanzania this afternoon. Freddy and I made it through our first time without him here in Rwanda. We did pretty well until yesterday. After two trips to two different bank branches to be told the network was down, another power outage, no water, an inability to light these terrible wax matches, Freddy getting into absolutely everything, and finally, a cockroach crawling up my leg, I was a bit cranky (read: crying and yelling at no one). Luckily, my fits don’t seem to bother Freddy. He was laughing at my while I was crying. Like father, like son.

Am I a terrible mother since I don’t have a single Christmas gift for Freddy? I mean, it was one thing to skip Halloween, but shouldn’t I have something for his first Christmas? Maybe I’ll just wrap one of his toys and books so we can get a photo.

In other news, I’ve run into some issues with my work permit, thus promoting me to the status of stay at home mom with full-time help. It’s nice in many ways, but it is a bit boring. I’m over the initial frustration with realizing that I sold all our stuff and moved halfway around the world for no apparent reason (at the moment). Trusting in the Lord, waiting on Him…again. I keep wanting my life to be clear, but I think the only clear thing is that this is life, and it’s unclear.

I’m very thankful for my life. It’s so extremely obvious living here how privileged I am (and always have been). I’ve never wanted food, shelter, health care, a loving home. I already *knew* that, but I am continually reminded in this setting.

I am also a lot more sympathetic to people who don’t really want to know about the great need and suffering in the world. I have historically been quite judgmental (still am, unfortunately) and wanted people to really see and understand the needs of the world. (As if I had it all figured out!)

Now I see that it’s not about seeing the needs of the world, necessarily. It’s really about seeing the answer to the needs of the world. As a Christian, I have a paradigm to see the world – it’s broken and in need of a savior, one who will come to fully redeem the earth. It’s not a perfectly understandable picture, but it is a picture. But without that, how could one possibly begin to understand this level of evil and suffering? What other choice does a person have but to just live the best life he can and try to insulate himself from this reality? If you don’t have an answer for the suffering, then you are just making yourself miserable for no reason.

This time of year, we groan for the Savior. We remember the Israelites who were waiting for a King – a King who came and will come again. We see that the needs of the earth are so incredibly great, and we call the Lord to come again. “Long lay the world. In sin and error pining. Till he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” My prayer for you this Christmas is that your soul knows its worth – knows that the Savior has come and will come again to make you whole.

3 thoughts on “Pining

  1. If it helps (and it may not), we’ve never bought our kids Christmas presents. They have gotten an item each from F’s parents (full disclosure), but we’ve asked if they might keep it small so it’s been a book or something.

    p.s. We’re experiencing roaches and fire ants down here, too. Thinking back on Chicago, it’s amazing that we practically never came across living creatures aside from pigeons and rats. It took our kids weeks to not scream at the sight of a gnat.

    p.p.s. Thanks for your heart…I wish I had gotten to know you better in Chicago.

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