Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Unexpected Struggles

Home no longer fits... it isn't a place where I belong. I can for the first time understand how we as Christians are not suppose to feel at home in this world. Our home is being prepared for us while we wait here and bring along as many people who are willing to join us.

It is unsettling, not feeling comfortable or at ease in a place you've called home for 8 years. I look around our property with new eyes and wonder how much longer must I live here? Don't worry, although I look forward to heaven as my true home, my yearning is to be back in a place where priorities are set; surviving vs. living. My experiences and the things I saw in Romania have changed my view of my life here.

We as Americans are spoiled. We have so much and whine at the smallest price increase in gasoline. We wail at how bad the economy is, how we can't eat out as much, how we can't afford vacations, that we are losing homes we could not afford to live in in the first place, or the things we "need". We are greedy and self centered. We block out the images we might come across on late night t.v. as too far away for us to worry about. I am speaking of myself first.

Did you know that in Hunedoara, Romania the weather is very much like here in Michigan; very cold, sometimes bitter winters, hot summers, and everything in between. It's like we say here,"If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it will change". The Bethlehem Christian Center in Hunedoara is located in an area where people don't have hot water or heat in the winters. There is no air conditioning in the homes or in the cars. Most do not own cars. Most everyone has a garden; not as a hobby, mind you, but for the food it produces to keep the family fed. The unemployment rate is over 10%.

I look over 2 of the 18 acres we have and marvel at the waste of time, energy, and gasoline we use mowing it into a neat trim green expanse...they don't mow in Romania. That was one of the first things that struck me. They don't mow, yet they have these fantastic old-world gardens with grape arbors shading beautiful patios surrounded by cherry trees, roses, and fruits and vegetables. It's so funny reading about the new trend in edible landscaping here in the states, when it has always been a part of life and provision and so beautiful...over there.

I look out at my fat horses, grazing happily, yet useless. They do not work, they are not ridden frequently. They are grazing pets, happily unaware of the waste of money it costs to provide for their care and health. I love those mares. They are sweet- tempered gentle animals. But I can no longer accept the cost as worthy. There are so many opportunities we could use the money for to help others. They will go up for sale today. As much as I love seeing them, grooming them, and occasionally riding them - as much as it will break my heart to see them go, my new eyes and conscience cannot be at peace without it. I pray I will not go back seeing things the way I did. I pray God will keep my eyes open, my head full of new ideas, and my heart softened for people whom I've met and for those I have not...

Some of the Things I Miss...

Slow Living
Old World Architecture

The Children at the Center...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Am The Crippled Man....

I was listening to the words of the song, "Tears of the Saints" and it really hit me, as an American how tied down or crippled I am with the materialism that surrounds me and clings to almost every area of my life.

When I was at the House of Grace, Casa Harului, I remember feeling as if the kids here had taken me under their wings. They offered their friendship, they translated for me, and shared their hopes and dreams for the future. I didn't want to leave. I still sense how unencumbered they were with their wheelchairs and disabilities, and how burdened and weighed down I am by mine...

These young adults reached out their hands and picked up a crippled man....me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Random Musings

The Hilton Hotel in Helsinki, Finland

Random, because I've decided that for the first time in my life I won't be organized and file my thoughts in chronological order. After all, I have been home 4 days from Romania and my memories of that amazing trip are far from orderly. In fact, I get glimpses of pleasurable memories often unexpectedly and never in order!

Lauren has done such a fine job of telling our story while I was there, and now her story, so I'll just tuck in a few of what I call my gems; those little jewels that cost nothing to keep but are priceless if lost... memories.

June 19th Still Heading Home...

Last night was my first culture shock. The hotel Mike booked for me was a 5 star Scandinavian Style Hilton Hotel in Helsinki, Finland. It looked like a show house for Ikea...probably was! The staff were very friendly and helpful and the amenities were beyond what I've experienced in America; including complimentary computers and printers for guest use!

However, the desk clerk rubbed me the wrong way. After discovering I was heading home from Romania, he sneered, "Welcome back to civilization!" Actually, I felt like the people I'd met in Romania were far more civilized...

Yes, Finland is cleaner, more efficient, and well designed, but it also feels sterile, artificial, and obscenely expensive. I did enjoy the beauty, and clean design of my room and bath. But honestly, as I lay soaking in my bath last night, surrounded by elegant lighting and frosted glass doorways, I missed the tiny bathroom at the Center with the shower curtain that constantly slid open down it's angled slope during my showers. I missed the many people I shared the bath and kitchen with - yes, even the guys who were visiting and used all my towels!

I would trade all this luxury to be back in Hunedoara, at the Center, where the screenless windows open wide, blowing mountain breezes through the fluttering curtains. I would welcome back the small fridge that dripped water from it's tiny sectioned freezer, and the giant gas oven in the main kitchen, who at the end, I was able to make friends with and forgive for burning my pie crust!

But mostly, I would trade all of this for the warm friends and loving people I met back in Romania and at the Center...