Stratified society

Dear Journal,

What makes the difference between the crippled man stumbling down the street in search of someone who will take pity on him and the man who steps around him, well-dressed and on his way somewhere?

Is it just the result of personal choices and generations of personal choices? Or is it something bigger, out of human control? Can it be chance? A lottery of God’s blessing? Is there really even a difference, or is it our fallen human perception? As in, is the difference merely physical or also in our spirits?

What makes me a choice immigrant and my sub-Saharan neighbors a “nuisance” to society? What have I done to deserve my status? Nothing.

We, the bright layers of a stratified society, see each other every day, but do we feel each other? Wouldn’t the world look different if we felt each other? What would happen if we stopped coexisting and started to love?

Living in the everyday

Dear Journal,

Passing moments startle me when I realize I never took time to embrace them. IDSC00020t’s as if my best emotions hover above reality and I plod along below, waiting for the intersection of the two paths when I will feel again.

It’s not numbness; at least, I don’t think so. Maybe simply a sensory overload that leaves me incapable of processing what is unessential to everyday life.

It’s a little like not having time to journal because life is happening. Life is not something I want to chase away. I just wish I could experience it fully before now is just another yesterday.

Too many hours on a train

img_7177Dear Journal,

I find that when I am forced to be inactive for a length of time, I begin to wonder things I normally don’t take time to think about.

Such as:

Is it only those with rushed, complicated lives that can appreciate the simple? Can those who are simple truly appreciate their simplicity when they’ve never experienced anything different? So then, can simplicity only be fully appreciated by those who don’t have it? And can the complicated life ever go back to being simple or does it always carry its baggage of experience with it? Can the process of losing simplicity ever be reversed? In short, can one both know and appreciate their own simplicity?



Dear Journal,

The scent of grilled sheep wafts through the open windows. Someone is still eating on their Eid sheep. The chunks of meat that were sent home with me went straight to the freezer so I won’t have to look at them for at least another week. I suppose I’m not a very good Eider.

And I’ve had too much coffee. My heart is doing funny little flutters to remind me that if I drink double the usual amount of coffee, I will get double the usual amount of jitters.

It’s one of those strange days when my afternoon plans disappear and I can read a book and take a nap if I want to. Instead, I’m reformatting language study documents to print.

I used to dream of being good at Arabic. Now I’m just hoping to survive language study. There is something about reality that chases away fantasy. I suppose that’s good. But sometimes I wish reality were closer to fantasy. Wouldn’t life be better if we all could be the people of our dreams?

I know God loves to use us as we are. Right now. Even as we are changing to become more like Him. But sometimes I still wonder how much more I would have to offer society if I were the person I would like to be:

I would have a meek and quiet demeanor, be constantly joyful, treat everyone with equal respect, speak at least six languages, be slender and graceful forever, etc.

Maybe I should take a nap… If only the apartment didn’t smell like sheep.

Life is too much

Dear Journal,

This morning I woke up early but chose not to get out of bed. The fan’s consistent hum soothed me as my mind wandered over the past week… and then the coming week.

As I lay there, suddenly I was terrified by the sensation that life was too much for me. I couldn’t face it. I couldn’t overcome the obstacles in my course.

The panicky taste lingered as all of my challenges and problems heaped up in front of me and dared me to climb. I only wanted to run away. Until I remembered that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4).

Ramadan blues

Dear Journal,

“Am I hungry or just bored?” I muse as I peer into the refrigerator.

Summer has set in where the nights rarely descend with a breath of cool air. It is warm all of the time. And what is worse is that I feel trapped inside. And what is even worse is that my roommate chose this month to travel to Germany, another friend left forever, one classmate is in the UK and another classmate is in Spain. I am trapped with myself.

I make plans here and there, but the reality is that any plans are contingent upon the time of day. The hours that are too hot are off limits because street robbers might prey on the few people who are out. The hours right before the breaking of fast are even worse; there are hardly any people or cars to be seen and a fog of silence enshrouds the street.

Even if I do go out, most stores would be closed anyway. And the cafes and restaurants definitely are.

Why didn’t I just go home for part of the summer? Never mind the long journey or the money. Maybe that would have cured some of my recent homesickness.

I am tired of studying on my own, reviewing, practicing, listening, jotting down notes. I am tired of the food in my fridge. I am tired of sleeping.

For a melancholy, boredom breeds self-pity. At least it does in this melancholy. The light at the end of the tunnel is fading. Ramadan will NEVER end! Instead of thinking how hard it would be to fast for thirty days, I think about how unfair it is to plan my life around those who are fasting.

Selfishness. Yes, it all comes down to a perspective saturated in selfishness. Time to go count my blessings.

Bad mood

Dear Journal,

I am telling myself it’s a combination of yet another rainy day and of not having a break from school. I’m exhausted and on the last day of the school week, I am required to slosh through puddles and mud and still be late for class.

And then I get home, reheat the coffee I didn’t have time to finish before school, and try to drown my melancholy mood in language study.

But in the apartment below, I hear the neighbors playing the Qur’an. The sing-songy chant grates on me. So I turn on my own music:

You’re the God of this city.
You’re the King of these people.
You’re the Lord of this nation.
You are.

You’re the Light in this darkness.
You’re the Hope to the hopeless.
You’re the Peace to the restless.
You are.

There is no one like our God.
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city.

No matter how “done” I feel with life right now, His work has only begun in this city. And He wants to use me now, right where I am. In the middle of puddles, mud, and too much homework.

My calling to glorify Him isn’t based on circumstance.