September 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
This may be the most discouraging piece you read today
June 25, 2014
I cannot sleep because I am terrified. I try to close my eyes, but losing one sense heightens another and the foreign sounds around me are too overwhelming. I can’t decide if my reality or my imagination is worse. I am bathing in my own sweat due to the extremely hot temperature. My body is going numb either due to the painful position I am making it endure on these uneven planks, or because there isn’t a square inch left on my body that isn’t swelling due to bug bites. There are rats scurrying around my head, and cats with claws out fighting on the roof. I want to breathe, but then I inhale the scent of the sewage water below me and then I want to puke.
June 26, 2014
Our dinner was pounds of chicken heart and liver, and because our host only owns a rice cooker, it was boiled. To honor our host in Thai culture whatever is served we must eat, and ultimately through eating meals and accepting their “grenjai” (generosity), we build trust. Cia and I ate our dinner, gagged multiple times and had to eat our own throw-up for fear of breaking trust. This was a special meal prepared for us by Yaay Noi, but I know that she knows we didn’t enjoy it. How am I so weak that I can’t endure a meal, that I have no decency to appreciate her labor? In 2 hours it’ll be 9 o’clock and my stomach is turning because, inevitably, it’ll be time to sleep.
June 27, 2014
I waited 9 hours for the sun to come up, and I when I say 9 hours I mean the 60 minutes of each of those hours were counted. I have never desperately begged God for light.
June 28, 2014
You don’t know fear until you’ve survived a rainy night in the slums. As if I wasn’t already near pass out exhaustion having not slept the last 3 days, today I am on the brink of insanity. The rain on the tin roof sounds like a man is beating a trashcan above our heads to make sure every crevice of this room is filled with the sound. As the rain pours on and on, the sewage water under us is rising up to meet us, and by morning, maybe we will have drowned in it. Or maybe the floor will give out first and it’ll be quick.
In the west, we are Gods of our own realities. We have resources like money and time to take care of ourselves, and our network and friends for emotional relief. When we ask God for prayer requests, I think that deep down we all know that if God doesn’t come through, it won’t be the “end of our world” because at the end of the day we still feel we are the ones in charge of our realities. Is that real faith? How many times in our lives do we actually put God in a place to be who He says He is?
I am not writing this piece to strip my communities of their dignity, rather I am writing it because this is their reality. It’s a reality that I will get to choose out of when the summer is over and I am back in my life in privilege in America, but for Yaay Noi life will go on in the same state. In this context, I am really beginning to understand why scripture says the Kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor. God is God of their lives because He is the only one that can truly deliver them, and He is the only hope they can look to.
But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay
– Psalm 70:5
Today I learned what true surrender means because tonight I had to sleep, and I had to trust that God would keep me alive so I could even see morning. I don’t think I have ever been put in a position of where faith is all I have, and where faith has to be enough.
If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all