Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Examining Freedom

I continue to believe--or hope that I will someday return to an Iran whose government is subject to the rule of law and whose leaders respect the rights of their citizens and treat them with decency (Haleh Esfandiari, 222).

Tonight I finished reading Haleh Esfandiari's memoir My Prison, My Home. This is an account of her prison experience in her homeland of Iran between 2006 and 2007. A woman and academic who holds both Iranian and American citizenships found herself victim to the Islamic regime after being falsely accused of numerous charges against the Iranian state such as 'spying' 'crimes against the government' and being part of a 'velvet revolution,' or attempt to overthrow the ruling powers in Iran.

After her eight month ordeal and pain resulting from scars i hope never to incur, she is hopeful and believes in positive change for her homeland. I read her words and i am amazed.

For those who do follow current events, one would know that within the country of Iran today, many things are happening. A generation of people my age and older are voicing in peaceful ways that they are ready for the basic Western freedoms that we take for granted everyday of our lives. These liberties include a small sampling of the following: freedom of press and speech, or speaking against a government when not agreement with it.

I by no means am an expert on Iranian history, culture, current social upheaval and governmental practices. But i do know one thing, what is happening in Iran today is given full credence and credibility in Haleh Esfandiari's book.

How easy it is for me to not think about the freedoms I enjoy daily. How easy it is for me to forget that I live in a country that i can enjoy the color blue, or even red and know that the government is not going to invade my home, rape my body or send me to prison for disagreeing.

I am reminded of our simple freedoms in Mrs. Esfandiari's book. I am reminded of our ultimate freedom we have in Christ when surrendering our lives to Him also. Here is a man, our Jesus, coming to Earth and willing giving himself up for torture, ridicule, slander and ultimate death because He loves us more than we can ever know.

While our political freedom rests in this country by laws and words written hundreds of years ago, along with the military arm to enforce it; I am so very thankful for the personal freedom and love in Christ I have, after events originally transpired thousands of years ago.

I don't usually bring both matters of academia and faith into the same picture. Yet, I cannot but be reminded that many still die for the ability to taste and experience freedom and that we have a Savior who died for ultimate liberty for all peoples, whether in the United States, Russia, China, or even Iran.

Sister E

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wood Guy or Opera Singer?

Monday at 8:00am the phone rings loudly in my bedroom.
Its a strange number and a strange voice is on the other line.
"I got your number from Nick and I am bringing wood on Friday."
The man is straight to the point, as I try to put some fuzzy pieces together.
"OH!" I remember our need for wood, my message to our "wood guy" Nick... and his awaiting reply.
I make the man on the other end explain himself as he does I calm down and realize I am not being pushed off or scammed and make a scheduled appointment for Tuesday afternoon.
Then the ice breaks while I give directions to our house...
"You live next to the Church!!!???" He say's excitedly.
"Well.. you will have to come hear me sing. I sing Opera."
My impression of the man on the other end continues to shift and puzzles me slightly.
"Or I am singing at the concert hall this coming Sat. you should come to that as well!"
The possibility of an audience seemed to make his day, and I didn't have the heart to tell him my impression of opera.
We hung up, both feeling better about the morning.
Tuesday around 3:00ish.
S.K. is home. I am at work.
Mr. Groves comes with the wood.
From what I am told he was as jovial out side dropping off wood as he was on the phone.
Again, he had to inform our dear sister of his opera skills.
Only this time, as the wood cascaded out of his truck he began to sing through the still frosty air!
S.K. of course listened politely, paid him what was due and returned into our home.
The wood is dry, cut to length and piled outside my door. It has been the most melodious wood delivery the Abbey has to experience yet! Stay tuned for other wood hauling/chopping adventures!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So take me as You find me, all my fears and failures, fill my life again. I give my life to follow, everything I believe in. And now I believe in. Savior, He can move a mountain, my God, He is mighty to save (Mighty to Save by Hillsong United).

While I should be doing other things this first Thursday of 'Happy Birthday Jesus month,' I find myself not yet in the 'writing zone' for researching and writing about the "Great Death" that created deep lifetime wounds in Alaskan Native peoples.

Instead, I will let the words tumble out of my fingers instead.

I will live for You....no One else will do..I will live for you always...

And all You ever do, is change the old for new...we believe that the God we love is bigger than the air we breathe, God will save the day and all will say, 'my glorious, my glorious,....Glory, Glory, send Your Glory!! (My Glorious by Passion).

By grace, You let me come and talk to You...I thank You Jesus for the love that I have shown...of the words in all of my life that could never explain that never describe, all of my love, which is nothing to hide, so i lift up my hands and worship You...(All the Words by Kutless)

Funny, I find that I have not many words of my own to share this night, and how okay this is. I ask, must we always have something to say? There is such power in observations alone. I think about how Jesus must have observed often as he walked and lived among the people, who would later turn against Him. Were there words in the garden on the evening Roman soldiers took Him and Simon Peter in his anger took off an ear?

Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord, strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord...our God, You will reign forever...You are the everlasting God, You do not faint, You will not grow weary, You are the defender of the weak, You lift us up on wings like Eagles....(Everlasting God, by Cris Tomlin).

I remember when I first heard this song, 'strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord,' but Lord, how impatient I am and still now I want answers just as fast as I did when living in North Carolina and hearing this song in Chapel. Oh, we are fickle people who forget that God does not use a time line like the 'The Western World' is accustomed to.

And yet, what I first realized in 2004 when on the Yukon, is that often our trip included the element of 'hurry up and wait.' Oh, there are elements of humor to this in our lives now. How often are we 'hurrying up' to get to be the first to the traffic light, to only wait 20 seconds more than the car behind us. Even in Alaska, I like to be the 'front car' when driving at times.

If anything tonight, I am reminded that my timing is perfect when I am in union with His timing, therefore I must continue to incorporate patience in my daily life. Ugh, really? "Yes, Sister E, the need for patience applies to you too!!"

Sister E

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Confessions of a Yenta

Do you remember on "Fiddler on the Roof" when they all sing, "match maker, match maker, make me a match.." to the old Yenta? She happily tries to find them all matches and enjoys her work. And there is of course the famous line of "any husband is better than no husband!" and others.
I love to make matches! It is such a delightful thing to see two people enjoy one another. I pray and think and dream about the men my sisters might marry someday. I also try to have them meet some of my male friends on occasion! If I know a young man who might be interested I try to have them spend time together, invite them to the same events... among other devices. I believe that " a woman should marry as soon as she can do it to an advantage" -Austen.

However, I also believe that my friends could have any man they wanted... They simply have their pick out of an assortment of men from sourdoughs to soldiers! I have seen them turn them down and graciously look away from probing eyes.
They do not need a "Yenta".
My confession is thus: I have Yenta-ed too much as of late, with out permission or request. I am happy to see my sisters happy, that is all. I will continue to dream about their futures, but I will do my best to keep it in my head.
"only happy women are matchmakers." Montgomrey.
I am a happy woman today, but will be just as happy to watch lives unfold without my meddling. Sister C.