Hotel Rwanda

I went to a “film night” tonight–an evening of watching a film followed by discussion. Tonight the film was Hotel Rwanda, a film I’d wanted to see since it first came out but had never gotten around to.

It’s now one of those films that I’m glad I saw…but that I’m not sure I want to see again. Not sure I can live it again.

I’d read the book Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the massacres with an incredibly powerful story of forgiveness. Tonight’s movie put images with the story that she told…images that didn’t tell the worst of the situation, but that were hard enough to watch as is.

And I was reminded of the many ways we find to divide ourselves…to separate ourselves from each other. And the ways we find to dehumanize “the other”…whoever that might be. In the film tonight, I don’t recall one time hearing any of the Hutu characters referring to the Tutsis as anything other than “cockroaches.” I wish I could say, “But we don’t do that”…but I can’t. Not when I remember the various words that have been used in my lifetime to make a particular group of people somehow less than the group I belong to.

So how do we change? How do we find the courage that Paul¬†Rusesabagina found to make a difference in people’s lives–over 1200 people’s lives–instead of saying “There’s nothing I can do”? Or that Oskar Schindler did, saving people from the gas chambers during the Holocaust? Or Irene Sendler, who smuggled children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving 2500?

I’m not any of those people…and I haven’t found myself in any situations that are that dangerous and life-threatening. But what are the things that I can do every day to make a difference? To make a difference in people’s lives…and to help be a peacemaker and reconciler? What opportunities have I missed in the past?

I can only pray that I truly live out being part of the creation of what I pray: “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

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Alone

I’ve been learning some things about myself this weekend…

My husband has been at Santa University in Colorado, learning how to be a better Santa. He left Thursday morning (early) and will be back Tuesday night… So it’s been just me and Rascal (our schnoodle).

There are elements of this time alone that I really do like. In some ways I have more flexibility, even though I have needed to stay on a similar schedule because of work constraints.

But I don’t like being alone at night. I hear all the creaks–and my imagination has a field day!

I also find it far too easy to simply fritter away some of that precious time. There’s no one calling me to account for my time, and so it easily slips away.

I have a list of things I want / plan to accomplish, but so far not too many of them have been checked off. Looks like I’m back in the situation where I seem to work best–under pressure! (That’s another of the things I am continuing to learn about myself.)

Alone time is good…but I’m looking forward to having the physical presence–not just the phone presence–of the other half of our partnership back. We really do work better as a team!

At a crossroads…

Our congregation is at a crossroads. Our pastor has asked to be relieved after serving as our pastor the last ten years…and that’s turned into a great opportunity for us to step back, take a breath, and re-evaluate who we are, who we’re reaching out to, and what our mission / focus needs to be.

We started as a congregation for seekers–and in our discussions, we’ve agreed that’s still a major part of our focus.¬† But what’s the best way to do that? And there’s also a sense that we need to focus on young adults…and what’s the best way to do that?

We have a core group of long-time, active members who have provided the primary support for the congregation–both in leadership and financially. But some are worn out. And the people we are reaching out to are not able to give much financial support to the congregation.

So we’ve been meeting for the last several weeks, doing what is not particularly common in our denomination–basically forming a “search committee” to discuss our needs and potential people who might help fill those needs. Will the new leadership come from within our group? from outside? We’re not sure yet…

But one thing is sure–the discussion has been good!

We still feel a call to our mission. And from the input we’ve received from members of the congregation, we are meeting a need…even though some of those who attend just pass through and others are very spasmodic in their attendance. But we’re a safe place–a place where people can be accepted as they are and encouraged to become who they want to be…a place where they can find help dealing with addictions…a place where we do our best to make all welcome–and try to meet both physical and spiritual needs.

So what does the future hold for us? I’m not sure. But, as the old song says, “we’ve come this far by faith…” and we’ll walk the path ahead the same way!

Is there hope?

I watched a documentary last night with several friends: 8–the Mormon Proposition. It was disturbing on several levels, but one of the comments that won’t leave me alone came near the end.

We, as viewers, were being taken on a brief tour of the “home” for a couple of homeless, gay teenage Mormon boys. Trash, graffitti…kind of an open-air “basement” with what they could scrounge to try to stay warm. One of the boys was talking matter-of-factly about how in the summer, often he woke up with 15-20 cockroaches on him and commented that “it wasn’t a pleasant way to live.”

The interviewer asked him “How do you keep hope?” and the two young men looked at each other in astonishment, then one of them responded “There is no hope.”

That’s the statement that won’t let me go.

How can people live with no hope? Unfortunately, for many people in the GLBT community, there is no hope because when they acknowledge who they are, they lose family, church family, homes, support. Where are they go to? Who are they to go to? How can they have hope when everyone they’ve known and loved tells them they’re no longer of any value? that they’d be better off dead?

What are we doing to our children? to ourselves?

We may not agree wholeheartedly with each other–but everyone has value. Everyone needs to have something worth living for–needs to know that they are loved. Otherwise…why bother? Why continue living? Why not just rid the world of something that’s been thrown away anyway?

Is there hope? If we can’t give hope to everyone, then ultimately none of us will have any.