Slouching Towards Bethlehem

This month has battered me.

A few weeks ago, I was side-swiped by a minibus swerving to avoid tourists. When the police found out that our car was insured, they declared the accident my fault (even though the minibus driver’s license was expired).

Then, a teenage thief snatched my cellphone from my hand while I was in a different minibus. He grabbed it with such force that my headphones snapped off in my hands.

A few days later, I picked up my laptop and a corner simply snapped off. It limped along for a few more days, then sighed its last and died.

It would all almost be hilarious, if I wasn’t so tired.

SutiSana has also been hit harder than normal. Our Operations Manager also had her phone stolen. Many of us can’t shake lingering illnesses. There are silly but dramatic conflicts among the women, and even among us staff. We’re all exhausted, on the brink of throwing our hands up, passing the buck to someone else.

Is it all just the craziness of the holidays, this Advent season that prompts cries for salvation as we all slouch slowly towards Bethlehem? Yes. Maybe.

But also, this work is just hard. Sometimes, it crushes us. And at the busy end of a very long year, I sometimes forget what it’s like to have the unimpeded optimistic spark that usually carries me through.

Recently, a staff member was ready to hand in his resignation after an exhausting (and rather loud) conflict with one of the women. I listened to his frustration, and realized that he was stuck seeing the small, bloody fights, but couldn’t step back to see his vital place in the bigger war.

“If it’s God prompting this, I’ll support your resignation,” I told him. “I’ll be the first to throw you a good-bye party. But, if it’s anything else that makes you want to run away, I can’t let you. Let’s fight back. I’m right beside you.”

So while this month has left me bloody and beaten, I’m hoping to just make it to Christmas, and have the balm of that paradoxical truth seep into my soul–that the war is already won.

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