Ok. I know you guys are sick of hearing about Egypt, and believe me, I’m almost there with you. Almost. The thing is, a year and a half before I went to Egypt, it was everywhere in my world. I would buy books to read, and without knowing it, there would be a significant portion of the plot take place in Egypt. Movies & TV shows would have Egypt-related characters or plots. I couldn’t stop watching Cairo Time on Netflix. Then, just before I moved from San Francisco to Phoenix, I hired a girl who turned out to be her daugher! I know. Spooky, right?
Last night I was reading a few chapters in Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and she used the randomness of taking a trip to Egypt & France as an illustration of something equally random. I JUST WENT TO BOTH EGYPT AND FRANCE IN THE SAME TRIP. Finally, This morning I actually gasped when combing through my Feedly reader (I’m getting used to it, Google, thanks for asking) and I saw this article from Christianity Today entitled YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE SENT TO EGYPT. Except that I did go to Egypt! Things happened. Good, amazing awesome things. It was a great experience. And yet Egypt is still everywhere. Everywhere. Do I have some sort of Egypt-related Baader-Meinhof thing happening?
The CT Article, written by Carolyn Arends, reflects on the Ignatian concepts of consolation and desolation. Arends explains them this way:
“Consolation is understood not as happy feelings (although they can be its byproduct), but rather as that which opens us up to God and others—and quickens our pulse for the things of the kingdom. Even difficult circumstances can lead to consolation if we sense God in them. Desolation, too, is more nuanced than I imagined. It has to do with that which distracts us from our awareness of God’s presence and turns us in on ourselves (whether our immediate experience of the diversion is positive or negative).”
I’m moving back into church leadership after a year-long break and that and some personal stuff has sent me to focus on personal worship and study more than I have in a long time. Part of this time has made me feel much more connected to my time in Egypt and what is currently happening there. One of the people we met there is trying to run a ministry to children in the slums and he’s floundering a bit because he has passion but lacks knowledge of how to start and run an organization. I have of late felt like I want to help him with that, so I’ve been communicating with him and doing some research and have already found him some great local resources. He’s going to visit a school on Friday, in fact. I will very likely be returning to help him create even more structure around his program and see what can be done.
I don’t know why Egypt is so in my consciousness, but it’s FREAKING ME OUT. I almost feel like God is saying, I want you to go there, and I’m all, Dude – ON IT! But God still keeps putting stuff out there. Ok. Got it. What is this about?