Sunday, October 17, 2010

I wait

For you alone, O God, my soul waits in the silence, for my hope is in you. Psalm 62.5
Those who wait for God, shall renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31
Happy are those whose hearts do not condemn them, who have not given up hope. Ecclesiates 14.2

"All that you give can sometimes rob my innocence"

there is not this easy path to hope
hardwork, hard hard labor of waiting
not for lightening bolts but flickering light under the door
my broken heart condemns me sometimes
rather than hope i blame God
for taking my oblivion
sins of omission that steal my joy
i let them
i wait, i wait
i sleep it off
I wait
i cry
I rage
I hate
I wrestle
I am defeated
I wait
I see light flicker
I wait
I hope
Compassion grows
before becoming fatigued
i wait
for God.

Friday, October 15, 2010

November 2010 Reflection

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll

Sometimes, I get confused. I have my head down, avoiding eye contact, wanting to avoid the pain I might see as I wend my way through Songacchi on my way to work. I am overwhelmed by the suffering—I can only focus on the filthy pathways contrasted again the painted toe nails and impossibly high heeled shoes that that line the lanes in front of me. My mind is full of the suffering of people I love, the women and men that we have lost and the heroes at Sari Bari who continue to face problems at home. I begin to believe that this suffering, this broken reality is all there is, and hopelessness takes hold my heart.

I have recently been reflecting on Jesus on the cross and the scripture that stands out most clearly is Jesus words directed at the Father, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I have never reflected deeply on this verse but recently at a conference as I listened to author and activist Peter Rollins reflect on the cross I was struck with the similarity of what I feel, to what Jesus himself, felt on the cross. Jesus felt the absence of God’s presence as he took on the sins of the world and he cried out—God where are you? Why have you left me alone?

I feel this way when I walk into the suffering of the women at Sari Bari and their counterparts who remain trapped in the sex trade. My God, my god, why have your forsaken us? This is the part of me that is looking down, grasping only the worldly realities, the broken people and experiences that have framed the reality of life in Kolkata, India. My question is God, where are you?

God did not create suffering. God created perfection, a garden of beauty in which we could have dwelt. Humanity chose destruction. We choose to live in a forsaken reality. I choose to let my own sin separate me from God. The most profound experience of God is to understand it pains God deeply that we choose destruction and that we choose to separate but He allowed us to do so anyway. And then God pursues us, the beloved, into the depths of darkness. Jesus was God, allowing himself to understand humanity, to enter into a reality of separation. It must be nonsenscial for God to understand why we continue to choose destruction over perfection. Jesus, as God, tasted destruction and then embraced it on the cross. When Jesus cried out “my God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”, he was at that moment enveloped in the darkness of the sins of humanity, and though I am sure God the father was present, Jesus could not see or feel the presence of the Father. Our sin isolated Jesus from the experience of God, a part of himself. In a sense, God rejected himself for us and took on the one thing that He could not stand to embrace, our sin—the thing that brings us destruction. God bridged a path into things that He did not create or intend for humanity.

Why do I feel the absence of God in the presence of those who suffer? Maybe it is because God did not create suffering. It is creative endeavor of destruction that I as a human being embrace in both large and small ways. If we question whether God is good, maybe we are asking the wrong question. The question is are we good, do we do good? Where is God in suffering? God is present though we may not feel it, but we cannot know what God must experience when He enters into destruction with us, and how that impacts our ability to understand who God is, in the reality of suffering and the wrenching He must feel as a parent and creator, when humanity chooses against God. Humans create suffering for other humans. People buy and sell other people. Men and women lie, cheat, steal and objectify. God created a garden. We have created hell, a reality of separation between what God intended and what we experience.

So when I stop being confused once in a great while and I cry out in less a powerful way, where are you God? Why did you leave?

God answers, I am here among you making the impossible possible. More than 7 years ago, before Freeset (, before Word Made Flesh and Sari Bari, there was a reality of impossibility. Women were not leaving the trade; there was no place for them to go. God was waiting for the beloved, those who call on Him, to be hands and feet, voices of hope and encouragement, to respond.

I think God sent Pornima to be with us Sari Bari, so that she would know His face, when she entered into His presence. God did not prevent her death but created an opportunity for her to receive love, hope and the gift of eternity.

Sari Bari started with 3 women in 2006 and as we enter 2011, have seen more than 70 women have freedom…this is the impossible becoming possible.

Sari Bari itself was not a creation of person but the collaborative effort of many from the beginning, no one person can take credit for anything that has happened. Kristin Keen, had the idea. I was able to contribute tactical, administrative, creative energy. Upendra Prasad Saha and Gita Mondal have been such foundation leaders and visionaries that we know we would not have seen what we have seen without their presence and unique gifts. Others along the way, Beth Waterman, the entirety of WMF staffers who came before, Kyle Scott and most profoundly the women of Sari Bari themselves are the intricate parts of an impossible reality, a reality in which we can only give thanks to a God who has not forsaken us.

I hope enter into the next year with a full heart ready to look up and see what God is doing, where God will enter into suffering, and where God will make the impossible, possible. And when I feel forsaken or wonder why God has not intervened in yet another broken reality, I hope to remember the miracle of the past that has created a fertile ground for my weak faith to grow.

With HOPE,


Tuesday, October 05, 2010