Wednesday, October 05, 2005


In the Weekly reflection email from the Henri Nouwen Society it said: "I could not fathom how these refugees could remain positive despite their suffering. I soon came to admire the optimism and courage of these remarkable women. ... Asha was a widowed Somali refugee, a mother who had lost all but one of her children in war. Every day, she came to the office with a smile on her face, eager to improve her English skills so that she could find a decent job in America. Although she could never fully escape her past, she worked toward providing a better future for her son. Faced with the choice of giving up hope or embarking on a new and unknown life, Asha chose to celebrate life."

I can't say I've been through wartime violence or loss of my children (Lord forbid), but I had been thinking about how when you have truly been through some very difficult times, and you make it through alive and healthy, and you see many around you still lost in the fog, you achieve a different sort of joy. I like to say I don't want to grow up, but the truth is when you've been to hell and gotten out, you have grown up and you know it's ok and desirable even to not take life too seriously. I like to be completely silly sometimes, and I like to hang upside down from monkeybars and do cartwheels in the middle of the park or on the beach, and I like to wear pigtails in my hair and write with a fuzzy pink feather pen.

I've been scared and helpless, I've been molested, I've been raped, I've had a gun held to my head, I've been threatened and hit, I've succumbed to drug and alcohol use as a teen, I've attempted suicide and I've been manipulated and told that what I knew to be true wasn't true. Through it all I fought to find out what the truth is and to seek to become the best person I could be. I wanted to live a life of integrity and I've made many mistakes along the way. But I am so glad that I was able to quit smoking and my party days over 15 years ago, and I made myself who I am today (with God's help couldn't have done it without it). Not every one of my friends made it through. All of these horrible things happened so long ago. I believe in miracles because I am one. My life is one. And I'm very grateful.

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