When Your Reasons Don’t Matter

I have done this, I have said things, and I have tried to justify them. I have been stressed out immediately after opening my mouth-feeling sick with regret. At the age of 15 I spent way to much time crying in my room because I was pretty sure I had lost my friend for over something I did or said. As an adult, I have tried to make changes, take a pause before I speak and be more in tune with why I say what I do and how it may be perceived.

Today I came across a group on a social media outlet that used their space to share what was thought to be humorous moments, specific to the country that they are working in, in an effort to ‘alleviate stress and discuss cultural differences’. This may not need to be an issue, but what was regarded as humour was at the expense of the very people they were there to work alongside. Once others entered into a conversation calling out the behaviour, I was stunned and disgusted to see what unfolded.

When you travel to another country to serve, work, lead, provide support or teach a trade you are entering someone else’s world. You are the visitor (no matter how long you stay), and you must adapt to how things are done differently. Think about how, within the very country you grew up in, things can vary greatly from home to home, state to state or province to province. Now imagine flying to a different country and immersing yourself in another culture; not everything will make sense. Do you really believe you can set foot in a new country and automatically think your way is the right way?

In this group pictures were posted of people doing things within their culture, albeit differently from North American methods, but not necessarily wrong. Commentaries and off-the-cuff jokes were made underneath the photos and that was the general vibe of the group. When those brave souls came along to defend their culture they were told why they were wrong and were asked to justify why they were offended. I was stunned, the white folks were attacking them for speaking up against their culture being the root of the jokes.

I watched white person after white person justify their actions, their jokes and their posts. The conversation went so far for someone to say that the country’s own diaspora wouldn’t return to the country to serve because they know it isn’t safe. Yet all the white people were ok to travel there and serve? The white saviour mentality bubbled up, and white privilege was rearing its ugly head. Almost no one could see why their behaviour was wrong because they looked at it only from their perspective. The argument was the group wasn’t actually mean-spirited because the intention was for things to be in jest, not to be hurtful.

My problem with this is that I have been spending some time educating myself, and making changes from that “I was just joking” person I was. I used to be super sarcastic and think pretty quick on my feet, making almost everything open for a wise crack. I abhorred anything to do with racism, yet often my jokes came at the expense of those around me. I was the naive person who said “I’m not racist” and I most certainly knew my heart didn’t support overt racism, but didn’t understand subtle racism. Since becoming a transracial family I have had my eyes opened and my perspective forever altered.

My world changed when I stopped thinking about my heart, and my intent and I opened my eyes to the impact of my words.

I usually know what I am saying when I say it, and I can defend my words to the ends of the earth. But what I cannot argue about is how my words may make you feel. I cannot see inside your heart, I cannot see your upbringing or what you may be going through right now. I can’t stop people from taking offence to what I might say the wrong way, but I can be cognizant of the people around me and take them into consideration. If where I am has largely become fuel for my laughter, why am I there? What impact am I having on the community I am in if, one moment I am working with them, and the next I am  making fun of them?

When what I do or say has a negative impact on a person, group or a culture what I intend is irrelevant. I can defend it until I am blue in the face, but it will not erase a person’s hurt. 

That is the real issue, it’s naive to think that we can explain away a joke, when the joke is about someone. When you stand face to face with your (un)intended victim, will you recognize them for who they are, their value and their humanity? Or will you continue to try to explain your reasoning to them?

M

Hardship

A woman needs to take the life of her unborn child because she has no room at home for them. She knows that what she takes could prove the end for her life on earth, but her husband begs her to as the financial strain is too great.

She survives and asks the God that she believes in to forgive her for what she has done. Later, she finds herself pregnant again, life has continued to serve this couple with limitations. Her husband asks her to do the same, she is torn between what she see’s as sin and obedience to the world she is in.

Do you make a judgement on this family?

If I told you they live in Haiti would you look at this circumstance differently?

We in North America have many blessings that sadly we think it allows us to offer our opinions on things that we could never begin to understand. I am often asked why my daughter’s mother just doesn’t take birth control. Why does she keep having kids?

Like life in Haiti has somehow offered her choices.

Who are we as people to turn to the person on our right or left and judge them for their actions, limitations and life choices? Our opinions of others are based on the lenses we see life through, not the reality they live in.

I carry the shame for the many times I have assumed I knew better, the naivety that I carried that made me think it was my place to weigh in on someone’s life. If we are asked, our words should still be tempered to understand we do not see the hidden corners of someones heart.

If we are not asked, why is what we think so important?

I should be sleeping!

I can hear my husband’s snoring through the floor. If my blood pressure would ever rise, this is the time for it to happen. When we were first married I did the loving wife gentle jostle to try and make him stop. Three months into our marriage I whispered a death threat into his ear and he stopped instantly. Almost twenty years later I sit on the couch and I decide to make a blog entry?

Again much has changed. We have learned a lot about Nathalia’s food intolerance’s, with one last set of Dr’s appointments to come we are feeling much more on solid ground. My husband and myself also managed to develop a couple which has explained a lot of the allergy and fatigue issues! We think we tracked it back to parasites that were undiagnosed in our daughter on her arrival from Haiti. She was very sick with lactose and soy intolerance issues so we think it masked the parasite, or they were testing too specific and missed what she may have had. Either way, we have treated the whole family and things are improving!

I am learning my food limits with this issue, my intolerances show as migraines. Not. Cool. I spend a lot of time in a housecoat (yes, I said housecoat-no I am not 80 years old). I wear my glasses and often times I feel like my hair looks like Doc from Back to the Future. I survive in a less than flattering state.

Now there are coyotes outside. I often wonder why they scream like hyenas? Living in an area that allows for some wildlife surrounding isn’t always wonderful. Like mostly at night. Or early in the morning when the woodpeckers were trying to get the pine beetles out of the trees, at 5:45. On the trees in back of our property. I digress…

I have grown as a person, in the sense that I can shake things off a little easier and I see my value more than I used to. Personal growth is hard, it doesn’t come naturally or with time. It truly is something you have to work at. These realizations don’t just happen with a birthday-it’s because you are willing to fight to believe in something more than you did before. I think you become tired of the status quo, and you want more for yourself.  For some people, they are tired of giving and they need their cup filled, either way, there comes a time when you know things need to change.

I am thankful for a God who is willing to stand by me when I am slow to learn, quick to be hurt or suspect, afraid and insecure in my place in this world.

I am thankful for a God who is willing to keep filling my cup, even when I spill His blessings and don’t seem to notice.

I am thankful for a God who waits for me as I come to the realization of the plan He has for me and my family. As I step out in faith, even though there is nothing there for my eyes to see, I will follow Him.

I have been working on something for my family, putting all this stuff together and making it work. I stepped out in faith, and when the doors opened I started to do the work. The reality is, I’ve done nothing. What has been done up till now has been all God, the timing, the doors opening, otherwise everything was not possible. I’m thinking God started the ball rolling and I stepped in and kept it going. Not so much.

It’s not about me. I am the vessel, I am the means to His plan. I asked for help, if this was in His will to make it happen. Clearly I am only the hands. God is in control, and I keep thinking I can get things done. Who are we to think we can do anything better than God by hanging onto things we ask Him for?

God has heard. God has given. Those were His words to me. I must trust in Him, my last piece of the puzzle will come.

Philippians 1:6 ~ Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…..

 

Hello world!

I sit here staring at my computer wondering what to write? I have so little to say, but so much on my mind.

For now I will acknowledge that I have a lot swirling in my mind with regards to goals in my life, some very simple-get organized, reserve time for what is important to me. Both goals tie together to what I have been obsessing about- think of what I am doing today and how it will impact my tomorrow.

I have a vision of myself sitting at my kitchen island working on my computer, my house tidy, my dinner menu planned, my daughter Nathalia happily playing and I am working on one of my future projects.

I know that to some extent it will happen, the house may not be clean-Nathalia may not be playing but my husband would be thrilled if it was dinner and a step towards getting my project going. He is very encouraging, and on board with my goals, but most of all he loves my cooking.