Down the River

The story at a mother/toddler playgroup this morning was Moses in the Bullrushes. If you aren’t familiar with it, here is the two second version:

Moses was born in Egypt as an Israelite whose people group were enslaved harshly by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Egyptians were concerned by the growing numbers of Israelites and put out a law to kill all the newborn males as population control.

Moses’ mother, put him in a basket and floated him down the Nile river. He was intercepted by Pharaoh’s daughter who bathed in the water. Long story short, his mother was able to raise Moses in the palace alongside Pharaoh’s daughter, and he grew up to be a leader whose privileged background gave him the skills to free his people from slavery.

I’ve read this story a million times, however, today I almost burst out in tears at the thought of placing my infant son in a basket and letting him go because evil people are trying to wipe out future competition.

This really seemed relevant to me today. Why? First, because I needed the reminder that the political and social devastation that plagues our world is not new. Terrorism, genocide, civil war,  racism, violence and humanitarian crises have littered the world for thousands of years.

Generation after generation- the struggle facing Moses’ mother still occurs- forced abortions due to babies being the non-preferred gender, genocide, infanticide and war. People exploiting their power to their own benefit. Watching the evil unfold in the terrorist attacks in London just highlights the on-going destructive nature the Bible sent Jesus to restore and redeem. I see the world’s need for rescuing thousands of years ago with Moses, and I also see it very much today. The Biblical story clarifies why mankind and this world are so broken. It gives me hope for the beauty of the story- that love prevails and death is defeated.

The Bible challenges me to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

It challenges me to use my power and position to help the weak and vulnerable, not exploit  power. It challenges me to love my enemy and pray for those who want to harm me. The Bible, when read the right way, challenges people to serve others- not enslave, exploit, manipulate, and destroy. If we all bought into this mentality, the world would look very different, right from the beginning.

The story was powerful for a second reason today. Like Moses’ mother, I’m placing a lot that I love in a basket and letting it go- relationships, stability, the known, material stuff, sentimental things, roots . . . putting it in a basket and not knowing what is going to happen down the river.

There is so much unknown in 20 days time for our family. The temptation when uncertainty is prevalent is to clutch onto the things you do have and hold tightly with clenched fists. However, at each turn, I feel a spiritual nudge inviting me to place things down and watch them float away.

I don’t know exactly how, but I have peace about moving pretty empty handed. I am putting good things down in a basket because my circumstances dictate it, trusting that our family’s needs will be provided for, and with each box that leaves the door, I’m feeling lighter and a bit freer. I’m asking myself hard questions about luxuries vs. essentials and I am so humbled by how much stuff I have that is in the first category. I am amazed by how many things I was given by friends and strangers, too.

I’m still a work in progress, but there is a principle in Christianity that things don’t actually belong to us. Things are gifts entrusted to us to manage diligently. As I drop off yet another carload of things to the charity shop, I’m experiencing some spiritual transformation that says this stuff wasn’t mine to begin with, which makes it easier to put down and let go of.

As my anniversary china set that I loved went out the door for pennies on the dollar, I took a deep breath, wiped a single tear from my cheek and shook my head, “It’s just stuff.” The process of letting go of the material to embrace adventure (?), the future (?), opportunity (?) is freeing. The (?) is because I’m not sure exactly what comes next. My character is being shaped through this process, and although it is hard at times and often very logistically challenging, I’m liking the woman I becoming down the river.


Deja Vu: Brexit & Trump

The Trump presidency is like Brexit all over again. It has been argued that leaving the European Union and the Trump Republican nomination shouldn’t have even been on the ballot. Opponents suggest that these options are irresponsible and invalid, and yet, both succeeded against poll predictions and significant odds. Both outcomes have been contributed to less educated, rural voters with racist agendas whose vote is largely based on immigration policies. The aftermath has evoked supreme court decisions, protests, petitions, politicians kicking off, and grumbling about the democratic process.

Deja Vu.

The morning after the referendum, my friends, neighbours, everyone and anyone came out of the woodwork to discuss the horrors of leaving the European Union. I had heard less than 10 opinions regarding the leave/remain discussion until after the fact–excluding one liners posted on social media. I experienced little to no real life passion about the Referendum- where people put their time and money into the process.

Post referendum, the sky is falling. People are still in a tizzy, petitioning for a revote, the prime minister resigned, the supreme court is involved . . . it’s just mass chaos.  All of a sudden, everyone is an expert in European law and relations and are passionate about the benefits of being in Europe.

Americans are doing the same thing. Calling for a re-vote in certain states, a re-count, changing the electoral college, and then the “Not My President” platform and the protests during the inauguration seem pretty futile.

I just keep thinking “Too little, too late, folks.”

There is a time and a place for this passion and energy. It’s called campaigning and it has to come before the vote not in a march while the president is being sworn in.

In both cases, opponents suggest that the people do not actually know the consequences of leaving or a volatile, inexperienced candidate. They argue that if voters actually knew the impact of their vote, the outcome would be different.

So, I ask, whose responsibility was it to educate those voters?

How did each passionate “Remain” or Clinton supporter help educate voters?  I wish we could have little arrows pointing over protestors’ heads stating what they contributed to the platform in terms of time and money to ensure victory for their views.  I think many would be embarrassed to admit that for the vast majority of these activists, their voice and actions came in hindsight. I think there was a lot of apathy and a false sense of security and a massive disconnect between the voice of the media the feelings of the people. Perhaps it is actually the media and government who need to be listening.

Instead of protest marching after the fact, a much better use of our time is to take an issue we feel passionately about and spend the energy and resources rectifying that in our own communities.

I want individuals to feel empowered. If you are passionate about open borders, help refugees and illegal immigrants obtain resources, sponsor a child abroad, go on a mission trip- get involved. If you are pro-life, volunteer at an advocacy centre, foster, adopt, or finance someone who is. Want more access to higher education? Start a scholarship fund, help kids apply for funding, offer them volunteer opportunities at your company to improve their resume. Be empowered. Get busy.

Your voice is more significant in an underprivileged neighbourhood school than your signature is on an online petition. Be involved politically more than once every four years.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Theresa May- like you and me, are only one person. I believe that each person is just as accountable in their sphere of influence as they are.  Certainly they have a massive platform and influence in our day to day lives, but they don’t live in my neighbourhood, attend my children’s schools, have the unique relationships and skill set that I have. The world needs me to play my part, not punt the responsibility for the well-being of my neighbour to the government.  And for goodness sake people, if you feel that strongly about it, say something, finance it, participate before the vote. After the vote get busy, not angry. Your anger is not effective, but your community participation is.

Because you are now wondering . . .

I voted for Donald Trump. As far as left wing politics go, I think Hillary Clinton was an exceptional Democratic candidate despite people stating the contrary. I think she is likeable and capable. However, I am a conservative and living in England has emphasised that position. Because it is your next question, the National Health Service exceeded my expectation, but there is no such thing as a free lunch, and people forget that. It is a culture shock from the healthcare standard Americans are used to, but because you don’t receive a massive bill at the end of it all, I’ve learned to like it.

However, if you say that people are entitled to health care, you also, by proxy, have to ensure they have adequate nutrition, housing, transportation, blah blah blah . . . the government becomes responsible for all social problems, and there is very little emphasis on personal responsibility or individual empowerment.  I believe in government providing for the most vulnerable in that capacity, not the masses.  Left wing politics prevent social mobility. It works in the UK, but it is so contrary to the philosophy of the American dream. It doesn’t work in a country full of individualists who thrive on personal liberty- the Trump platform is proof that this ideology is still strong.

Proud to be American.