Pain and Beauty

Journey to Justice, Six

Small Steps into Big Issues


An unintentional theme has been stewing – one of turning the page to see the other side of the story.  These moments of allowing my heart to wake up, my eyes to see more clearly and my mind to engage all came as I realized that I wanted the whole story. I wanted the pain that came with the beauty. I wanted the beauty that came with the pain.

I can not tell you how many times someone has commented on the danger of my travels. Whether it was before I went to Pakistan, or it was Morocco. Or Uganda. Or China. To so many people these countries remain clouds of mystery whose horror is told in the news, but whose people and beauty seem to be forgotten. I have had an amazing opportunity to step foot in these places. To make friends. To laugh and eat and live where others say is too dangerous and come back with stories of life, friendship, struggle, joy and vibrancy.

Countries are made of people and people are made of stories.

I have sat with a man who has dedicated his life to leading ministry throughout Africa and heard his story of being diagnosed with AIDS.  He said to me, “If I were to write a book about my life, AIDS would only be one chapter.”

I have sat beside a young women as she cries and shakes recalling her abortion and contemplating her own forgiveness.  I wanted her to know that she could find grace and wholeness again, but had so few words.

I have been asked by homosexual friends if my church would accept them. I had to look them in the eye as I realized with sadness that I did not know the answer and hated that they had to ask.

I have been welcomed into homes and fed dinners that have been made with precious food and energy, laughter and acceptance.

I have strolled along gardens and talked with university students that do not know what their future holds  and struggle with the pressure.

I have heard authors and experts, doctors and teachers, historians and journalists talk about what they have seen, what they believe and why they do what they do. It all comes down to one heart, one person, one soul that is worth making hard decisions for.  One story that is worth opening our eyes to see.

There are many that have gone before us, accomplished much and can be found in books. There are many more whose everyday lives are acts of heroism, triumph and love. They are giants, too.


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