I did it… Today I decided to take the plunge and start a blog.
And why did I start it today? Because I woke up this morning from a dream in which I heard myself lecturing my Biblical Hermeneutics class, but it wasn’t me just repeating summaries of the readings I had done in preparation for that lecture, it was me speaking from me. Does that make sense? It’s so difficult to express what was such a profound experience this morning was for me.
I heard myself sharing the information that I had prepared in my own words, with my own way of saying things, with my own spin on the content.
I heard myself sharing about my memories of Matara and my first mission trip to Jeffreys Bay, how, with a change of perspective, I was able to really see people around me. Not seeing, as in noticing superficial things like what they were wearing, or their runny noses, or their bare feet, or their threadbare, plain looking clothes. No, this seeing was like a heart connection, a connection travelled from the physical touch right into my very being, so that when I looked at them, when I held them, when I shook their hands, they settled into my heart, into me.
I heard myself saying that when I chose to look past my fear of germs and dirt, when I chose to look past their clothing, or lack thereof, I started seeing eyes filled with laughter and joy. I saw faces shining because their dignity was restored and their humanity was affirmed. I saw little ones who wanted to sit next to me, or on my lap, who wanted my arms around them and wanted my attention. I saw young people thrilled at the life of restored dignity and promise that was denied to them, but is now within their grasp. I saw beautiful white teeth set in beautiful faces of dark, shiny skin.
I heard myself sharing of how I played with preschool children, knowing that some of them were HIV positive, but caring only about showing love to whomever wanted it from me. That day I held a child who wanted to be in my arms and rest his head in the crook of my neck. I was able to experience all of this because I chose to challenge my own worldviews about people with HIV, about being contaminated by germs, about being with people who come from very different backgrounds to me. And when I made the choice and moved towards the children and the adults around me, I found not only them, but I found God in them and I found me.
I heard myself telling these stories and then relating them to my understanding of the content, not looking at or reading from my printed script that I had so anxiously put together to allay the self-doubt that was threatening to suffocate me, but sitting in a relaxed position in a circle with the students in my class. And what I heard in my voice in my dream is what gave me the courage to start this blog today.
I heard the me that I am now releasing from the hidden recesses deep inside me. I heard the me that completely owned her opinion about the material and content that was prepared. I heard in that voice a woman who found and now completely and confidently owned her voice that she had been searching for for so long. And it was because of this voice that came from inside of me, that so confidently rang out in that class that I started this blog today.
So let the games begin!
P.S. Thank you, Tina Francis, for this beautiful memory that you captured at Matara!