to MOVE and to live.

11:43 PM

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have." -my man, Honest Abe

WOOF. Where did Fall Semester go?

The road is behind me, but it is still ever woven into me. I still wake up most days with the urge to surround myself with new and different spaces & fresh places but I can't deny sometimes I only feel like curling up to the community in my comfy little nest. I can't explain this semester except to say it was a battle of figuring out what and how and who and why and coming to no understanding at all, except grace.

Thinking of grace, I have not posted in what feels like years, my bad. Let me make it up to you by telling you about something that recently rocked my world.

This past weekend I attended MOVE DC, a Global Summit on the LRA. Present were 8 leaders representing South Sudan, Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), International Criminal Court (ICC), United Nations, African Union, European Union and the United States. 10,000 young activists were present at our nations capitol to march on DC and attend the Global Summit with hopes of bringing a permanent end to the LRA conflict. Invisible Children's blog writes it more eloquently than I do so I'll leave the details to them. What I do want to tell you is that this weekend was monumental. Those 8 leaders not only spoke publicly about what their actions were going to be to stop the LRA but faced the thousands present and answered their questions. Some of the activists present were as young as 14 years old, hundreds came from other countries, simply to make a statement about our duty to protect one another. After the summit, we marched the path of the great peace marches before us, making our way to the lawn at the Washington Monument. We ended the night in true Invisible Children fashion with an insane dance party. My feet are still swollen, but my heart, that is very full.

A day before, a smaller group of us lobbied our representatives. My first lobby meeting was with Congresswoman Blackburn. I waited outside, palms sweating, hoping that I could somehow convey to her how much I wanted to see this conflict end. When we were ushered in to meet her, she pointed us towards the couches in her office. As we sat down, ready to speak to her about the conflict, she stopped us. You see, she didn't want to hear about the LRA conflict as much as she wanted to hear our stories. I talk so much about stories, almost in every blog post. YOU GUYS, YOUR STORY IS SO IMPORTANT. I just want to throw up every time I think about it because it matters. Your story, it changes things. If you are reading this, it must mean that somewhere along the way, your story has connected with mine, and for that I am thankful. Anyways, sitting there in her office, the 6 of us shared the events in our life that caused us to end up in DC. I shared the story of this organization that accidentally found me four years ago, I told her the story of my van and my incredible Ugandan brother. We sat in her office for a little while, and she pledged to do what was in her power to continue the effort to stop the LRA. It was invigorating and encouraging, knowing that my story now lies with someone who has a louder voice in politics than I do.

Moral of the story: DC was good, this world can be better and I know because I saw it in the tenacity of thousands of young people a few days ago. And what really struck me was that for the first time in months, I had really lived. This semester I searched far and wide to unveil the mysteries of my life (soul searching is an understatement).  I came back to school because I knew Lee University, as a school and as a community, still had much to teach me. And I searched and I dissected every emotion, every interaction, trying to find the life in it. I found myself asking questions about this God and the love he calls us to? I wondered about the confines of Christianity and if I still fit into that box? There were many late nights that my housemates and my friends stayed up with me exploring the depths of these questions and easing the numbness I was feeling (bless their hearts, they will never understand what they mean to me). My problem was that in the pursuit of trying to understand it all, I wasn't living. I read a Thoreau quote the other day that connected things for me. Thoreau said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I was stuck in these "woods", thinking that the pursuit of life would bring life, but I lost a little bit of my spirit along the way. I'm reclaiming that from here on out. I don't have all the answers. All I know is that this God is real, the love he called us to is omnipresent and I might not fit into the confines of Christianity but maybe I am not meant to.

So today I am thankful for the ability to move, and I am thankful for mystery. I don't need to understand everything, but I do need to cling on to what I do understand. I DO understand that this blog post is in no way collaborative (English teachers hate me & my incessant run-ons). And finally, I know that in the mean time, I am covered by this grace that I can not yet understand nor reject.

When Anne Lamott speaks, I listen and so I want to leave you with something of hers to rest in: “I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us."

Until then, keep your head up & heart strong. Happy Thanksgiving.

love, madi. 

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