The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

Coffee has a sweeter taste on Easter morning. The air is electric and the flowers seem to whisper, “Did you hear it? Did you? Everyone is talking about it. He is not dead. He is risen. He is ALIVE! Pass it on, pass it on, and don’t let the story die.”

We breathe in the news with breath that reaches our depth and Mary Oliver’s question seems an important one, “Tell me,” she beckons, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The news that Jesus lives is invitation for us to live too!

It was about a year ago that I was selling all my possessions and preparing to move to South Africa. It was a beautiful process of examination. My sister had almost died with Dengue Fever in a remote village in Tanzania. After hearing the news that she had been airlifted to Kenya and would survive, I found myself reflecting on the fragility of life. In the midst of my reflection, I asked myself “If you were to die tomorrow, what is it that you would regret?” The whisper that rose up was not new; I had heard that hope in the recess of my mind many times. Following the faithful next steps in the wake of that whisper is what led me to serving at CMM with all of you. No one in my life was shocked when I named I wanted to serve in South Africa. Almost everyone said, “It seems exactly the thing for you to do.” Yet, what a leap it was. The only things I have in storage in the US are my theology books.

I had not been in South Africa long before I heard of a Healing of Memories talk that would be held at the District Six Homecoming Centre. In that talk, I heard a man speaking of my grand-father’s people – the Lakota Indians in Canada. He shared about the practice they have of naming everyone they meet a relative. Tears welled in my eyes, for I was sitting in the country I wanted to be in and learning about a truth my grandfather lived faithfully. It was a beautiful moment.

Father Lapsley, the director of the Healing of Memories Institute, is someone whose work I have followed for years. He utilizes circle processes that trace back to Native American practices to help communities who have experienced collective trauma begin the process of healing. I have never formally been trained in circle processes, but I have participated in them. I leave to experience a circle process led by Father Lapsley in one of the communities here and to receive training in that work in just four days. There is something in the elemental part of who I am, my blood, which recognizes this as a gift that will go on giving in my life and ministry. I am thankful.

After this training, I will be in the US visiting with family and with the communities who are supporting my salary. So, I wanted to take time to share with all of you that I am truly grateful for this time here in South Africa, for the journey of each moment of struggle towards the next faithful step, and for the gift of standing witness to what God will unveil in each of our lives as we continue to answer the question “How do I live the life I have been gifted with boldly, generously, graciously, courageously in a way that gives testimony to the belief that Jesus lives?”

I invite you to reflect on questions that have been alive in our community with new Easter light:

  1. What about the world around you evokes a sense of holy discontent?
  2. How might you engage in these areas of discontent with your one precious life?
  3. If nothing held you back, how would you live?

Easter reminds us to release our fears and live!

With you on the journey,
Michelle


Comments are closed.