I’m back in Tanzania! It’s been a fun month of reacquainting myself with all I love about this place and these people. Absence definitely made my heart grow fonder, and perhaps more sensitive. It seems I’ve been more acutely aware of the poverty and despair that abound here. So too have I been more aware of the beauty and hope in the people. I love how a couple of months can completely reshape your perspective on things. I don’t walk by the same crippled woman begging on the street and look the other way. Now my heart burns within me to pray for her, to give to her, to figure out how she can change her life. I notice the discrepancy in affluence almost every minute. I see all the kids walking home in their uniforms and my heart jumps in delight. I pass the area where young girls are prostituted and my heart jumps in fury. My emotions and experiences are spanning the spectrum, but they all seem to be piercing a bit deeper than ever before. Each instance requires a different response, but I feel myself moving towards response instead of ignorance.
I recently heard a man speak about our inability (unwillingness) to stand in the tragic gap. That place between the reality of pain in this world, and the hope of what is to come in God’s kingdom. The tragic gap. That place that refuses to give in to hopelessness, while also refusing to look the other way. The tragic gap. I feel a commitment in my spirit this year, to stand in the tragic gap, even if my heart breaks over and over and over. Brokenness is sometimes beautiful.
I don’t think I’ll be standing there forever, though. In fact, I won’t be standing at all, I plan to build a bridge. And I plan to celebrate as my girls walk across that bridge, from a life of captivity and abuse, into a life of freedom and dreams and safety and love!