Rwanda, Duck Dynasty and Advent
At this time of year I miss Rwanda so much that it hurts. I hear a song on the radio or see a Facebook post from a friend still in the country and I feel a squeeze around my heart. I have memories of little Ellie Jo learning to walk on our tile floors and of clear mornings at Kibagora. I see rainy days sitting around a banana leaf table sipping tea with dear friends. I reach for a kitchen tool that was left behind or search for the Christmas lights that were sold with our first tree.
My breath catches a bit. I look into the eyes of a baby boy who has never met Theo and never had a bed bug bite. I feel like the world is sliding sideways a little bit. How is it possible? How did we just leave our life? Our life now feels just as real. But there is this hole for a place that Rainer will never see.
Embarrassingly enough, I waded into a bit of the Duck Dynasty fray these last two days. In my defense, I weighed in during the early hours before it became “a thing,” but really I should have left well enough alone. Goodness. And good riddance to the soap opera that it has become. The chances for actual dialogue seem to be totally steamrolled by the absolutes of any position. Nobody seems to be listening. It’s just a bunch of shouting. I do acknowledge a bit of my own hypocrisy in those statements.
But this season, this Advent time, is about longing for peace. It’s about finding ways to talk without shouting. It’s about discovering, again, that deep down I am longing for real connection and real conversations. I am waiting with expectation for those opportunities when I can sit with friends and discuss over tea. The solace of peace can be found, but we must long for it, search for it, expect it to appear so that we can celebrate those moments. Distracting ourselves with shouting leads nowhere. It may disguise our longing and mask some of the aching in our soul, but in the end it is a cheap replacement for real stillness.
So as we light tonight’s Advent candles I’m focusing on hope for dialogue, peace in internet-land and joy in bittersweet memories.