Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I don't think I'll ever be able to start summer without thinking of the Philippines.

Without flipping through photos and clicking back to "July 2011" on my blog and Facebook timeline.

Without remembering the girl who stepped on a plane two summers ago with big expectations and the girl who stepped off three weeks later - changed for life. 

Gradually, I'm understanding a little more of what it means to be broken.

I think damaged might be another word to describe it.

Damaged to the first world, no longer able to function properly as a first world citizen is supposed to.

Because I'm no longer able to enjoy a Tall Vanilla Bean Frappuccino without feeling guilty - and it has nothing to do with my weight or health.

Because while my friends soak in one of the most expensive streets in the city, I feel sick at jokes about gold-plated toilets, I pass on the Starbucks and buy a homeless lady an afternoon snack instead.

Because while teachers and classmates tell me my grades say I should be a doctor or lawyer for the six figures, I want to be a lawyer or social worker to help the least of these - who most likely won't be paying six figures.

Because I pass on Secret Santa, don't use the word starving, and I can't turn the advocate in me off - I'm forever talking to my friends about poverty and human trafficking.

I see it in my family too - my parents choose carpet over hardwood when hardwood is definitely the way to go nowadays. My brother forgoes buying another cube - while the normal first world boy wouldn't think twice about putting down the fifteen dollars for the puzzle, even his second or third or tenth one.

Yet I still have a long way to go. 

Because while I can't enjoy the Frapp without guilt - I still enjoy it.

While I felt uncomfortable on the most expensive street in the city - I was still on it.

While I don't want a six figure job, some days I reason that God gave me the gift of ninety-something grades for a reason, and if I earned six figures I'd give it all away (from the comfort of my home which matches my job, of course).

While I weave social justice into my conversations, more often I'm talking about crazy teachers, funny YouTube videos, summer plans, TV shows, and the latest on social media.

And some days, I'd rather be the girl who doesn't know about the other side.

I'd be excused, then. If I don't know, how could you expect me to care? If I have no clue about the poverty on the other side of this palace gate, how could you expect me to know to open the gate?

Yet I do know. And I want to know. I'm blessed to know.

Because broken is the most blessed you can be.

But while I strive to travel back to the places where I found this beautiful brokenness, sometimes I strive for comfort more.

Yet I read Ann Voskamp's words and she transports me to Uganda, Africa and here I am reading about a girl who eats bugs. And I cried. And right there I wanted to fly to Africa and feed her and every other child who is eating bugs.

Two hours later I'm chopping strawberries for the freezer. I picked the next piece of fruit from the basket, turned it over and discovered a spider.

And yes, I freaked out.

I screamed to informed my mom, ran for a paper towel, squished it - all the while freaking out.

Then I sat down to continue my work and all I could think was Ann's sponsored child eats bugs. Ann's sponsored child eats bugs. Ann's sponsored child eats bugs.

And I couldn't deal with it. I cried reading about a girl who ate bugs, and two hours later I freaked out over a small spider on a strawberry.


And then there's Katie. The girl who quit university to welcome orphans into her arms.

Where's the balance between that and "being responsible and thinking of your future"? Yet aren't Christ-followers called to not worry about tomorrow

And what about seven years of university to be a lawyer who frees captives, releases prisoners from darkness, and rebuilds ancient ruins for the display of His splendour? But couldn't the cost of law school feed a whole lot of bug-eating Ugandan children?

I don't have answers. But I know a few things.

Broken is the most blessed you could be.

And chasing Jesus is always the way to go.

And if he runs to Africa, I suppose I chase him there. If he runs to law school, I'm gonna have to chase him there.

Just like how my family and I chased him to the Philippines two years ago... look where that brought us.

Damaged... and so thankful.

Love is complicated and the simplest thing in the world. And that is all there is. 
-Ann Voskamp 

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