I’ll never forget the moment of clarity I had in the middle of the pasta aisle. It was the day after I returned from a trip to Kenya with my family. I ran into an old friend next to the spaghetti sauce and she hugged me and said, “so, was your trip to Kenya just ah-maazing!?!?”
She drug out the last word and her voice went up and I was afraid to commit. It’s the tone used to describe a memorable vacation in an exotic place with a lot of exclamation points.
Before I could answer, she said, “I bet you just want to give all this up and move there!”
When I answered, I meant to say was, “Yes, we had some amazing moments. But it was also hard.”
Instead what came out was, “On this trip to Kenya, I convinced one of the teen moms not to run away with her tiny baby, we bathed in a bucket because there was a water shortage and counted the hours until we boarded the plane. Oh, and I saw a man die in the middle of the road.”
She couldn’t grab her noodles fast enough.
I was left standing in the pasta aisle thinking don’t make me pick a favorite place. I can love America and Kenya, while I simultaneously dislike certain things about both places. I can do both even though lately it feels like our culture is trying desperately to squeeze us all into a polarizing box.
I live a paradox and you know what? That’s okay.
- I can love sweet tea and Keto (loving them at the same time might make one ineffective).
- I can not be a cat lover but love the cat that became my college daughter’s roommate
- I can protect my immune-compromised kid and let my other kids do high-risk activities.
- I can be pro-life and not vote Republican.
- I can love immigrants and refugees and not vote Democratic.
- I can be politically homeless and love my country.
- I can run a non-profit and also have no idea what I’m doing some days.
- I can be a storyteller but not a public speaker.
- I can choose to wear a mask if it means others around me feel protected even if I’m not convinced of all the science around it.
- I can find new hobbies and passions and still binge-watch Netflix.
- I can put up boundaries for toxic people and still fiercely love them.
- I can see behind the veil of conspiracy theories while I also believe evil is at work in our world.
- I can believe in the absolute truth of the Bible and still love my neighbors who don’t.
- I can love Muslims and be in relationships with them and not try to “convert” them.
- I can anxiously wait for the return of Jesus and also live every day to the fullest.
- I can hate recording videos for Mercy House and also look forward to hosting Facebook lives sales for Mercy House.
- I can be a smart intelligent woman who also admits I don’t have all the answers.
Friends, let’s refuse to be labeled. We don’t belong in a box!