Monday, January 3, 2011

Someone Higher

We have MAJOR water issues at our house- resulting in often not having water when we need it to wash hands, dishes, floors, do laundry, shower, etc. In addition, the problems are causing water to leak onto our bathroom floor, and it’s all just a big pain all around! Oh, and not to mention that even though we often don’t have water to use, our water bill has been OUTRAGEOUSLY high.

I’ve not gotten too worked up about it until now… now that after several attempts to have our landlord come and inspect the problem and fix things- he is claiming that our bill is high because we are “using too much water” and says we should “wait” and watch the problem for a while because he doesn’t believe the water expert who came last week and declared that there is definitely a leak which requires totally smashing our bathroom floor up to fix (and “not believing” should be translated as “he does not currently have the money to fix this”).

Sorry. We’ve already “waited” through this inconvenience for four months now!!!! I’m done waiting. I’ve had enough. I find myself selfishly missing the convenience of reliable contracts, quality built homes and water systems, and quick repair jobs.

I can’t remember the last time I was this bent out of shape. Honestly. My roommate even informed me that I was stomping around the house- and I didn’t even realize it. At the height of everything this week, I went to bed at 10:15 and couldn’t sleep until after 11:30- and if you know me well, you know that I don’t have any problems going to sleep... but my heart was racing as I thought about it all again. I decided I needed to go to someone higher. I mean this in two senses:

1- My Heavenly Father. Two truths came to mind while I was fuming- the reminder to give thanks in all circumstances- and to not be anxious anything but give everything to Him. So I decided I should probably work on that- whether I felt like it or not. My attitude stunk.

Once I did apply these truths, however, I realized a few things. In giving thanks- I realized that perhaps the Father was going to use this for His glory (duh! I know). And He is already using it for His glory in what He’s teaching me, but I also remembered that my roommates are watching how I live and how I respond… as is my landlord.

2- My Team Supervisors. I appealed to “someone higher” on my team and am grateful for Carolyn and Darrell and their willingness to take this matter into their hands. I have been removed from the situation because it’s apparent my landlord isn’t listening to me or my roommates, and if I show my anger- it will cause my landlord to shut his heart door. And it’s definitely how situations are handled culturally- bringing someone higher in. I felt a big burden removed as soon as they responded that they'd talk to the landlord.

However, it really shocked me how ticked I was about this. I’d not felt emotion like this in a long time. And then I realized that my anger is pretty selfish. Why have I not gotten this upset about situations and circumstances and injustices that are going on in my Lao friends’ lives all the time? If I’d heard someone else had a water problem at their house, I’d probably say, “Oh, that’s too bad” and not think much more about it and probably not do anything about it. But now that it affects me, I’m determined. Hm.

Yet, the fact that my teammates are willing to step in for me is speaking volumes to me. Really, it is a beautiful picture of what the Father did for us. He saw our great need, and saw that we were unable to fix our sin problem and get out of our self-created mess on our own, and He didn’t just say, “Oh, that’s too bad” but He got involved sending and even sacrificing his Son because we need Someone Higher to step in for us. And just like when I asked my teammates- we have to ask God and He will lift our sin burden.

This situation also shows me that I still have no understanding of what it means to be helpless or poor. I have connections with people who will support me. I have been blessed with financial resources, and definitely have back up options if my finances run dry. Many have no one to defend them, and there is no back up plan financially. What is my role considering all of this?

The Spirit is teaching me through all of this to get involved. When I see another’s problem, check if there’s a way I can help- just as I’m being helped in this situation- and as I’ve had an incredible debt paid for me that I can never return. Why have I not gotten involved? Fear of the messiness of getting involved and plain old selfishness are the only two answers I’ve come up with. This is the heart of community development work, and yet I’m still learning the basics.

I just had a small opportunity to put this into practice with my roommate this weekend- as I saw her motorbike light was out. I talked with her about fixing it, and because she’d given all of her month’s salary to help pay her dying nephew’s hospital bills, I knew I needed to offer her a little “loan” to fix it. Why not just give her the money? I need to preserve her dignity, and give her opportunity to work it off instead of giving a handout.

Small stuff in the light of eternity, but big heart lessons for me.

Thank you Father for reminding me that you have stepped in and rescued me. Please continue to teach me how to love like you and step in for others- that I might point others to You.


Anonymous said...

Wow...such powerful lessons to learn for each day. Excellent blog Mag. We have someone higher!!! We are so blessed.
love you,

David and Kristi said...

That was such a great reminder. Thank you for putting your experience into words so that others (like me) can read it and try to apply it to my life. Love you girl! Praying for you!!!

Emily said...

WOW Suzie, thanks for sharing your feelings and frustrations so honestly with us. It can't be easy dealing with "home maintainance" in another cultural context. Your reflections on the lessons you're learning through all of this are very refreshing - thanks for sharing! Hope your water problem is fixed soon!