Last week one of my favourite Christian writers asked her readers and some friends to write a letter to their teenage self.
One day I might be brave enough to post my letter to myself here, but can I recommend the exercise to you? I cried many tears in the writing of mine and I found an opportunity to love and forgive parts myself that were still hurting and alone.
For those of you in book group, after our discussion of Chapter 10 last week and of collecting curios on the beach, one of the letters
caught my eye.
Some years ago I spent time living in Bouj el Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. This was such a rich experience. I learnt a lot about myself. I was supposed to be there in service to a community of 20,000 completely dispossessed people, generations of them living piled together in one square kilometre.
After two years, my major impression was that I received far more that I had given. I was so deeply honoured to have been accepted into the hearts and homes of so many Palestinian people. One of my most treasured experiences about living in the camp was sitting in homes in the evenings and listening to stories of Palestine, life in the camps, and the trauma and hardship so many had suffered during the Lebanese civil war. As I said, I felt honoured to be trusted with these stories that sculpt a life.
One of my friends, Kholoud has been working with researchers on an oral history project with elderly Palestinians, having them recount stories of their lives and culture before the nakba
. If you are a sucker for people’s stories, or for a slice of history not often heard, you can read some of their stories here
We’ve been involved with more media and interviews in the past week.
Being around journalists always reminds me that so much of what is reported on in the media is all about perspective, perception and pre-determined viewpoints. I am learning to give up the desire to control what happens and how I am perceived.
I came upon this bible verse that gave me solace:
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5: 5-6
And I was also reminded of my favourite children’s story.
I couldn’t find my copy of it, so I found it one online.
I have certainly gone places in the past five years that I never imagined I would go!