Sound Bite Psychology

This week, to my great surprise, I developed sympathy for the presidential candidates and the problem of having your life, your purpose, and your value reduced to a sentence or two. My value, how I view the world and my place in it, or what I am capable of contributing cannot be summed up in a sound bite. It’s frustrating and a bit infuriating when they try!

My sound bite moment came during a job interview. When I was asked why “at this age” I had taken an “entry level” position (implied: what’s wrong with you-are you stupid or crazy?), I was caught unprepared. I felt I was being reminded of “my place.” (I am not a college graduate. I am not young:) But, I love my job. I took my current job when financial reality dictated I couldn’t keep putting huge quantities of energy into my passion of being part of a team that got resources to teams serving internally displaced people in Burma who were had limited options for getting medical/dental care without their help. I am a sucker for a mission! I was blessed to find a job where I have been able to help people here in our area access dental treatment, even if they don’t the have huge quantities of money that frequently requires. I can live with that. There is still mission involved. It is still serving people. It is my compromise.

I have never fit well in the box. A test we took once at the dental office I worked at on Whidbey Island said that I was a “circle”: a person who likes to build team work, values people, nurtures other, like to get along, sees the bigger picture. My “career path” has included ample time on the “Mommy track” – a privilege I would not trade for anything. It is what was important and of eternal value. I am grateful.

Too bad job interviews don’t let you do your answers by essay instead of by interviews, judged by the sound bites. I would have had much more to say. I may not be much by the world’s standards, but I am a mother of three amazing adult children who still love me, for 34 years the wife of a kind, gentle, loving man, a child of God-saved by His grace and bought back from destruction. I am called to follow Him out of the safety of the box into the land where the wild things dwell. My life has purpose, even if the suit and tie crowd will never comprehend it. They don’t get to take away who grace has made me.

Afterflash (a poem)

No longer helpless, unloved or alone—
A woman with choices.
Redeemed to the bone.
I’ve come through the fire-
Felt the heat of the flame.
But I am God’s daughter,
Called by His holy name.

Empowered by His Spirit
By grace I can stand,
My face towards the future
Fulfilling His plan.
A channel of mercy,
A bearer of light
Redeemed by His goodness-
I will not fear the night.

The God of creation
Walks each day by my side.
I will trust in His mercy-
There is nothing to hide.
Though chaos surround me
And angry winds roar
I am safe, I am strengthened
For He is my Lord.

The Lamb is a Lion,
The servant, a King.
He is my shelter.
Of His grace I will sing.
He will lead me and guide me-
I have nothing to fear.
Jesus is victor.
He loves me…He’s here!

5/21/93

Where refugees came from? (2010 statistics)

Finally found a recent chart of where refugees resettling in the US came from last year … still looking for statistics of where they ended up by state.   The list below shows the top 10 countries the US received refugees from in 2010.

Iraq 18,016
Burma 16,693
Bhutan 12,363
Somalia 4,884
Cuba 4,818
Iran 3,543
Dem Rep Congo 3,174
Eritrea 2,570
Palestine 1,053

 For more detailed info, click here

Country of Origin

Admissions
Ceiling
Admitted
as of 9/30/10
AFRICA 15,500 13,305
EAST ASIA 18,000 17,716
EUROPE 2,500 1,526
LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN 5,500 4,982
NEAR EAST & SOUTH ASIA 38,000 35,782
UNALLOCATED RESERVE 500 0
     
   TOTAL 80,000 73,311

Not for sale (poem)

Money doesn’t make you a better person-it just gives you better choices.  In some cultures, having no money and no rights makes you a target for traffickers. I first heard of the organization “Not For Sale” shortly after I had met some of my young refugee friends. It made their presentation pretty non-theoretical. I could picture some of the young people I care about and the choices they may have faced if their parents had not chosen to become refugees and take the risk of resettlement to America.

Not for sale…..
Humans as commodities, stocks to exchange,
inconveniences, expendables to be thrown away.
Their lives for sale…choices determined by $.
No! Their lives are a gift. Their lives have value!
Children of God, created with purpose-
whether they know it or not!

They have captured us, adopted us, let us love them.
Priceless treasures beyond measure…
these little sharers of laughter, of humbling moments…
Yahtzee played, meals shared, loving acceptance offered and received.
We talk of woman things and what it means
Of relationships and guys who are good
And those who are not.

Transitions negotiated like minefields….
New experiences played out each day….
We talk of Christmas trees and manger scenes–
Of Jesus, a refugee whose parents fled to safety to keep him safe.

They watched our daughter with her baby
And reflected on a mother who loves instead of leaves…
They have little “stuff”-but their father loves them.
With courage he brought them here in spite of the challenges.
They live in a “big” house (smaller than most living rooms),
grateful their father cooks for them….
Grateful for food. For friends…. for choices.
If different choices had been made,
They could be some of those who are for sale in another land…..

How do you determine the value of a human?
Of their love?
It is priceless.
It should not be for sale.

The View from the Front

This article yesterday in the Seattle times tells about the struggle refugees are having making ends meet in the recession economy and how the budget cuts are impacting them here in Washington State.  I took some time to read the comments that followed the article, and was made aware of how great some of the hostility is that people hold towards not just illegal immigrants, but also towards those our government has invited to be here.  While I understand financial frustation, and fear that your piece of an ever-shrinking pie will somehow disappear, I am also aware that my friends who are refugees have faced things beyond my comprehension.  The link here is to an article from the Bangkok Post, written by a friend of a friend, highlighting the situation these folks needed a refuge from.

What I Know (ramblings)

While my currently reconfigured life seems to require a crash course education in dealing with dementia after dark with grace, faith, and gentleness, it’s not something I was ever really prepared for.  In stressed out times, I usually revert to some basics learned a long time ago….

1.  A lot of theology, people have argued about for centuries.  Do I care?  No.  There is enough of the simple things I do understand to keep me busy the rest of my life figuring out how to one day at a time love God, my family, my parents, my coworkers, and my friends/enemies/peripheral encounters.  Keep it simple. 

2.  While some people may be inspired by the beauty God created in rocks, mountains, trees, sunsets (and I love those things too), or the magnificent oratory in a good sermon, the applied grace of God that gets through my anxiety/depression/exhaustion/attitudes/questioning usually comes in a song.  Songs change me.  My soul meditates on them and it washes my brain.  I can remember scripture portrayed in a song better than 95% of a lifetime of sermons I’ve heard.  The song that has sustained me this week is on “Year of Grace” by Robin Mark, written by Johnny Parks and Claire Hamilton (check out the album…..every song on it is fantastic!!!!

“All Is Well…..He lowers us to raise us so we can sing His priases.  Whatever is His way all is well.  He makes us rich and poor that we might trust Him More.  Whatever is His way all is well.  All my changes come from Him-He who never changes.  I’m held firm in the grasp of the Rock of ages.  All is well with my soul.  He is God in control.  I know not all His plans, but I know I’m in His hands.  He clothes us now then strips us, yet with His Word equips us.  Whatever is His way all is well.  And though our seasons change, we will exalt His name.  Whatever is His way, all is well. ”

A wise friend once said, “What you magnify gets bigger-let’s magnify Jesus.”

That’s the goal.  That’s the perspective.  That’s the anchor.  Nothing else is gonna make it happen.