I am so appreciative to two-time Hogar de Amor volunteer Elizabeth Lynch for taking the time to send this to me. As I replied to her:
"How fitting for this time! Or really for us who “live” this “work”. All the injustice can threaten to overwhelm us at any point. We can only survive—and thrive—by clinging to these very truths. Thank you for your poignant reminder. I really appreciate it. You put into words many of my feelings and thoughts, but more richly due to your background."
With her permission, I am posting the email in it's entirety (bold additions mine). If it blesses you half as much as me...!
From: elizabeth lynch
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:43 PM
To: Jennifer Thompson
I was just reading your post on your blog about Victoria. Obviously I already knew the story, having been there while the tests and things were going on, but there was one paragraph in your post that jumped out at me - the one where you said you left the doctor's room fuming, but not knowing how to explain it because you weren't judging the mother (or whoever did this). It's just that it made me think of something I wrote which was a sort of meditation around Psalm 18. It was written in the context of my PhD study, but looking through it, I think Psalm 18 has a lot to say about Victoria's situation.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
I just love how God responds to distress and injustice in this psalm:
The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies ,
great bolts of lightning and routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
Sometimes I get really angry about some of the kids' situations - but sort of in the same way that you said, without really directing that towards particular people, because we don't know how difficult their situations were at the time. But here's God saying, hey I'm angry too - that's part of the way he cares. And God fumes and burns with anger at the injustice that has happened. Victoria was hurt, and shouldn't have been, and it matters. And why shouldn't we be angry? God’s anger produced smoke and fire, and it made the earth and the mountains quake! But after this angry outburst at the causes of injustice, God seems to turn to the Victorias of the world with a very different look on his face:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
So, again, God says, yes I care. But here he says it to the Victorias, very gently. In God, there doesn't seem to be a conflict between showing fury at the causes of a situation, and then a very gentle love towards the people hurt by that injustice. And I think that's your job too, as God's hands to Victoria and the others. Actually, I think it's everyone's job in whatever context they're in, but I think you're doing that job pretty well from what I can see! God is fuming against all the injustices that created Victoria's situation, and he also rescued Victoria and loves and delights in her. So can we fume, and also love and delight in Victoria? (I can't think of much else to when in a room with Victoria, as delight does seem the most obvious reaction!)
Sorry this was a bit long-winded. I'm an academic....!
Even while jet-lagging this week, Elizabeth is already looking into how her church in Scotland can receive donations on our behalf. That will be an amazing way to broaden our support base with new friends from the UK. Thanks for everything, Elizabeth! And the kids miss you, too.
Adios, Shana and Hillary - Thanks to Carla Booher for the blog! :) Wednesday night we had a "going away" party for two of our volunteers. Shana is from Texas and has been touring...
3 years ago