Friday, May 27, 2011

Ankle Deep Goose

I saw a goose today standing in a mud puddle.  Just standing there.  The puddle wasn't big enough for him to float.  Just to stand ankle deep in muddy water.  No larger than two times his body size.

He was in the middle of an area they are slowly doing some construction on.  Just gravel and mud and one mud puddle with one goose standing ankle deep in it.

A few hundred yards down the road was a bigger open area where there was a bigger pond.  True, it is only a construction pond, too, and is littered with garbage, but at least it has grass growing on the sides and three other geese floating happily on it.

Only a little farther away are quite a few little lakes.  Fish swim in them, geese and ducks and the occasional swam float on their surfaces.  Trees hang over them and the land around is green with thick clumps of vegetation perfect for nesting wildfowl.

But this goose stood ankle deep alone in a small mud puddle in a construction zone. 

I wanted to tell him to get out of the puddle.  To spread his wings.  To look farther than where he is.  To leave the puddle and go find a pond or lake to float majestically in.  To splash and wiggle his tail and dunk himself in and let drops roll down his feathers.

He is not made for standing in mud puddles.  He is made to swim and enjoy

But he just stood there looking miserable.

I don't know why.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rethinking History

When I was sick a few weeks back, I decided to do some reading.  Somewhere I had gotten a copy of Schindler's List.  I also read The Help.  I know - light reading both of them! :)

I had never read Schindler's List.  I had seen the movie when it came out and was impressed.  But I had seen it as a young just married adult.  I had thought that it was such a horrible thing to happen, and how could people do that and how could people sit and do nothing while it was happening?  I had seen a few concentration camps different times when I was in Europe, and they left an impression on me...

... but it was always "them".  How could "they" do that?  How could "they" sit back and let it happen and not do much about it.  I know some did, but how could  the rest not?  Didn't "they" see?

This year, when I read this book, a thought began to form in my head, and it was decidedly uncomfortable.  We (as in Americans) read about WWII and we have this attitude of superiority.  "We would never do that".  "If I had been there, I would have....."

Would we?  Really?  Would we?

I read this story now as an adult, with some facts that I was never taught in my Christian school textbooks.  Do you know that a ship full of Jews waited on the coasts of the US, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba begging for permission to land?  A ship entirely full of Jewish families.... begging for safety.  And we turned them down.  We did.  Canada did,  Mexico did.  Cuba did.  South America did. We sent them back.  Many of them died in camps.  Families were broken apart.  A few survived.  Only a few.

[  see:   Gerda's Story and Official Policies  and The ship that was turned back]


We did.  This country.  Our country.  Our vast, largely empty country.  A "Christian nation" as we so liked to call ourselves.  And where was the huge outcry from the churches?  Where were people writing, phoning, showing up on the White House lawn insisting that we open our doors?  Demanding that we live up to the spirit of the Statue of Liberty?  Signing up to take financial responsibility for a family, to guarantee that the government would have no burden on it for these Jews?

Our churches were silent.  Our families were silent.  We said nothing as that ship was turned away.  Of course, there were a few who did... but a few?!  Only a few?

This hits me hard.  I have two grandfathers who were pastors.  Did they speak up?

I think we have no right to judge others for their silence.

 Do you know who did take in Jews?  The Dominican Republic.  They offered to take 50,000 to 100,000 Jews.  The Dominican Republic has a land mass of 50,000  Compare that to the US which has a land mass of over 9 million sq km.  Unfortunately, only 5,000 Jews made it safely to the Dominican Republic before the war broke out.  Still, they opened their doors, something we did not do.

We drive across this vast country from east to west or west to east and often north to south every few years when we visit churches.  Miles and miles of emptiness.  Days of empty land.  As I read Schindler's List, my mind kept going back to the thousands of miles of empty land we drive through.  I'm sure Canada has its share of empty land, too.  As I read, tears began to fill my eyes.

Do you know what I wish?  I wish we had opened not only our doors, not only to one boat, but to all... and provided assistance to get here.  Would it have been easy?  No.  I know that.  It would have been a logistical nightmare.... but a logistical nightmare is far better than a holocaust nightmare.

Six million killed.  We hear that alot.  Six million.  That is about twice the population of Chicago.  I have to believe that between the three countries in North America, we could have wiggled over a little and fit that many people in.

Can you imagine what it would have done for our country to have opened our doors?  What we would have been now?  These were skilled people, with strong family ties....   We mourn now that it seems God has been slowly taking away His blessing from our country.... we shut our doors to His people... have you ever thought about that?

This was an entirely new thought for me.  It had always been "them".  "They" were the ones who did evil.  "They" were the ones who didn't do enough to stop it.

We failed, too.  We failed.  I read the rest of the book with a broken heart instead of my old, slightly superior American attitude that "well, if we had been there, we would have....".  We didn't.  My own family didn't.  I can not read this book and not take responsibility for our own failings.  We didn't.  We didn't even so much as take in one ship load of families that could see our shore and begged us for their lives.  We sent them back to die.

(I know this has nothing to do with my blog's normal entries... but it made a deep impact on me as I read it and is something I had never thought of before.  I want to apologize for our failure, but I also want to apologize for my attitude in that quiet superiority... the  "well, we would have....".)

Oh, the Conversations!

I had to be in school this morning, so I was attempting to get my hair in a somewhat manageable state and asked #3 and my daughter to make their lunches.  As they worked away, I told them to clean up as they go since I have a meeting tonight and don't need extra mess.  This then was the conversation:

Mom is really busy recently.

I know.  I don't know why she wants to be so busy.

Well, maybe because she has a lot of kids, so that makes you busy.

How would you chose to be a mom, I mean, how would you do that?

You have babies.  That is how you become a mom!

I know, but like, why would you chose that... does everyone want to be a mom?

Well, you can't be a mom even if you want to - you're a boy!

I know that! But...

And even if you want to be a parent, it is a lot easier for you to be a dad than it is for a girl to be a mom - it doesn't take as much work! (I had to put my hand over my mouth not to giggle at this point)

Yeah... but you're a girl.. Do you want to be a mom when you grow up?

Um... I don't know... maybe... I don't want to have to decide right now...

Their conversations crack me up at times!  If only I had some sort of recording device I could quietly switch on in the kitchen!!!

Then we were driving the other day and passed a school that my daughter had never seen before and she asked what type of school that was.  I replied that it was a private school. 

She gave me a funny look.  "Private?!  How private can it be when it is right there for everyone to see?!"

Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Spell Exhaustion

Someone just asked me what my title was to put on a mission's conference form.  Hmm... well... I am titleless.  Or it really depends... cook, mom, trouble-shooter, babysitter, errand girl, tailor, secretary, writer, ... and today, I add another one...

disciplinarian.  Yup, that's me.  And it is wearing me out!

We've got a split third/fourth grade class.  They are comprised primarily of alpha males, some with learning disabilities and some with attention disabilities and some with attitude problems.  Then throw in a few passive aggressive girls and some teary-eyed ones who break down over everything, and for good measure two kids who have the solution to everyone's problems and feel free to share it even when not asked.  Then do a teacher switch in the middle of the year, then once the new teacher is going well, take her out of the picture for three weeks on a sickness and then put in a rotation of subs, and then bring the new teacher back.  Add to the fun that the new teacher is unexpectedly pregnant and had a previous miscarriage and this one is questionable.  Just to up the stress a little, run fifth disease, which is bad for early pregnant women, through the class, too.  Oh, and then there is the spring production that we have to learn our parts for, too.  That is next week, and we're nowhere close to being ready.

I've been brought in with two objectives - get control of the class and mentor the new teacher to be able to maintain that control.

The first day was a constant battle.  Today, we made progress, but it was still a very busy, exhausting day.  Monday, we'll come in after a weekend, hopefully fresh and ready to keep going.  But right now, I'm wiped!

And I work this weekend,.... so no rest for the wicked!