So, I (Steve) have been thinking a lot lately, reading some and spending fun time with my kids. All three converged last weekend for a memorable experience. It is best illustrated like this random picture. It is two pictures with a contrasting focus, so when the focus is on the background, the foreground is blurry and when the focus is on the foreground, the background is blurry. The clarity of a picture depends on the focus of the camera. So, I am at Birch Bay State Park with my kids and two other children as well. I am watching them have the time of their lives, playing, exploring and discovering the beach, sea-life and sand, lots of sand. That is my background and it is clear as the day. In their contentedness, I decided to steal a few minutes reading. So my focus changes and in the foreground I am reading a book called, "A Long Way Gone: Memories of a Child Soldier." In the background, I am watching children lost in their ultimate element of play and in the foreground I am reading about child soldiers found in the ultimate element of pain. I am reading this book about 8-12 year old becoming soldiers, killing, and capturing, enslaving and becoming slaves in the foreground and peering over my book at a 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 year old playing and having the time of their life in the background. Back and forth for about an hour my world and focus kept changing. I was hearing laughter and watching running back and forth and then I was reading about crying and people running for their lives. And it gave me some perspective that day. It was sobering and significant. It wasn't just any normal day at the beach, but it was transformed into this amazing, beautiful, spiritual day with my children at Birch Bay and a sobering, saddening, with some other children a world away.
It happened again a couple of days later. I was at Les Schwab getting my car looked at. I was reading a book called, "Serving with your Eyes Wide Open." This was a book about short term and long term missions and how we as American's fail to see the world with open eyes especially in regards to missions. As I was reading this book in the foreground, Oprah was on the TV in the background. So, in the foreground I am reading how we as americans make up only 5% of the world and yet we consume 50% of all the resources of the world. And in the background was Oprah doing a show about weight loss, bringing in 5 people to do a year long weightloss program called "My best life." They are going to film these people and document their efforts during the year. In foreground I am reading about how 40% of the world live on less than two dollars a day and in the background I am watching the results of inequality with a nation like ours that lives on more than $70 a day. in the foreground I am reading about the 29,000 people who are dying each day due to hunger and preventable diseases and in the background I am watching people share about the struggles with weightloss and In the foreground I am reading about the struggle of not having enough and in the background I am reading about the struggle of having too much.
The irony was more than I could ignore. How do we live here and not forget there? How do we shift our focus from here to there so that how we live, what we think, what we do and what we buy keeps at the very least the background clear. This has been a growing year as I have made my daily life impacted by those in the background. I have become increasingly thankful for clean water, clean air, food in the refrierator, a bed, a pillow, a car that runs, and a shelter. Having a focus on the background has improved the quality and contentedness of our foreground in all that we do and buy and think about. Which brings me to my point that we are mere weeks from making the background our foreground and making our foreground our background. Obviously, we won't forget about you, and we ask you to not forget about us!
Just so you can be more aware of what is going on:
August 25 - Our last open house at the Collin's.
August 26 - Our last service at Northlake
August 28-29 - Logos training
August 30 - We move out of our house
September 2 - We leave for Zambia