What next?

Today I attended my first military funeral.  The deceased was a pastor, who served in the Army back in the day, and this man married my husband and I.  I worked with his wife, and so I went to support her.

As they presented the flag and played Taps on a horn, I fought the tears.  I was in ROTC in college; I presented the Colors at a college football game after 9/11 and that heavy silence of the crowd gathered still stays with me.

A part of me wondered….what is becoming of my country?  We’ve just banned 134 million people, I’m sure more are to come.  Jesus said nothing about being safe (um, Judas).  Muslim, Christian, a “none” – as a pro-life advocate, I am pro-life no matter what race, country, or story you have.  Our president says Christians will get priority – but he just banned everyone form Syria – how does that work?  How is that even Christian?  Or American?  Since when did we start discriminating against religions?  We are the land of the free – with the freedom to worship the one true God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob or if we wish to worship trees, you have the freedom to do that.

I think our American culture becomes confused with the reality of the Gospel.

I’ve seen the refugee population up close, as I used to supper with these people.  They’re no different than me: wanting the best for their families and themselves.  These are not terrorists.  I also noticed how we haven’t banned anyone from Turkey or Saudi Arabia – obvious terrorist ties there – at least not yet.  Refugees coming to America is an arduous process that takes years.  Years!  These people are not simply tapped on the shoulder, given a visa, and relocate to the US in the matter of days.  Most come with less than I would take to backpack Europe.  When someone comes to America under refugee status, they cannot ever return home.  Not to visit family, not to move back, never.  It’s a huge deal.

While I don’t have the entire story, my great grandfather Johannes was a high ranking train official in the state of Brandenburg, Germany.  Family lore says he was forced to join the political party in the early 1920’s, which would eventually morph into the Nazi party.  He declined.  The government told him if he didn’t join, they’d take his son – my 9 year old grandfather – to force his hand.

He left for America.

He left a the keys to a mansion, elite status (my grandfather and his sister were raised by a nanny and had musicians serenade them at meals), and a bank account of $45,000 in 1925 to sail 3rd class for a better life in America.  His nephew died a Nazi soldier.  I’m a second generation American because of his bravery and foresight.  He died before Hitler took power.

In my introverted civil disobedience, I made Moroccan Chicken tonight.  I’m making couscous as well.  Our diversity makes us stronger, as the president of Canada said.  I wish it was true of their southern neighbor.  We as a country freaked out like this before WWII hit our shores, and the parallels I see with a nationalist Europe and our actions quite frankly scare me.

I don’t know what’s next and I’m frightened by the direction we’re going.

Thankfully, someone on Twitter reminded me with this:

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May the Lord Jesus Christ reign in our lives, as portrayed in the Gospels, and not through the lens of our American lives.

On my way home from the funeral, I stopped for groceries to make dinner; a reminder that the living need to go on living.

I also stopped for a bottle of coconut rum.  Because….yeah.

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2017: This year I purpose to….

As someone who did not make any new year’s resolutions last year, as I was fighting for emotional survival, this year I wanted to be more purposeful.  In the past, I had always done my one word, which I think is a great tool – I loved the simplicity about it.  But this year, I feel I need to do something deeper and with stronger guides than the past.  I stumbled upon this blog and decided to make it my year-long project for 2017.  Each month I will chose a phrase to make my focus.  Here’s what it looks like:

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My goals for 2017 look inward and outward, and most of all, reflect the Light of the Lord.  It  took me awhile to come up with these – I kept changing the wording on some – others popped into my head, as I felt a nudging from the Lord.  I know what I want these statements to become in my life, but the Lord usually turns that on its head, so this should make for an interesting year, especially the one about growing grapes.  I’ll probably grow something else entirely.

It’s already looking interesting: we’re getting a nationalist in the White House.  How will the US play on the world stage with this regime change?  How is Europe going to change?  We booked a reconnaissance meeting with a realtor: our 2100 sq ft house is big for just the 2 of us – we’re been floating the idea of downsizing to a smaller house and paying it off within a few years.  Our huge house comes with a lot of property too – it is a lot to maintain.  We’re not selling out of desperation: we are selling because we choose to change our lifestyle, possibly careers – who knows what will become of it.  In my own little world, my loved one who was silently struggling with alcohol addiction decided to stop drinking and seek the help of a professional counselor.  I am overjoyed, but guarded: these things are not fixed overnight or guaranteed.  Nonetheless, I am so thankful and happy that this sordid chapter may come to a close.  I’d like a new job, but in the past year, I’ve been rejected 4 times and currently have no prospects.  There’s a family-sized hole in my heart.  How will the Lord fill that?  I’m taking on a project at church that is out of my realm of expertise.  So many questions, so much potential.

What better phrase to start January with than this:

Learn to move forward.

  • Stop dwelling on what was or what could have been
  • Do something new
  • Don’t get hung up on worry
  • Acknowledge mistakes and then let them go

Moving forward.