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Watch out when you hang around the young
Amusingly, in an almost perverse way, I have recently found myself being greatly impacted by two youthful generations, well youthful as in much younger than me. One interesting fact is that they both have caused me great angst and have prompted me to look at myself and how I relate to them. I find it is not the constant activity or attention they seem to seek, or demand, better want, rather the noise they bring to my well balanced, at least according to my mind and habits, Life and perspective. Noise is also defined as interruption of my view concerning certain items or ideas of importance.
The one is the generation of children, yes, even grandchildren, in the 0 years (but able to move around) to the 5 year old and active. While one or even two such invading my space at the same time are somewhat consistent with my eagerness for community with them and my availability, even eagerness, to participate with them, even when they are siblings with all the historical competition, I find myself quite well strengthened to overcome the “interference” with my well ordered sense of perspective. Add a third and fourth and I lose the lines I have quietly formed and after but a short bit of time find my senses overwhelmed in the cyclonic activity and ever increasing noise. They are beautiful and individually exceptional in their own right, but put together they form some example of the damage that can come from any gene pool, even my own. I love these little persons to an extreme and at the same time am driven almost to the edge of my sanity by the huge difference in their means of entertainment as compared to mine.
The second “challenge group” is the generation of young adults, even more specific, young adults of similar passion or direction of passion as to complement my desire to be a most loving and affective impact on my dear friends in Rionchogu, Kenya. Yes, yes, I know how can there be any similarity of intrusion, yes, intrusion, by two such non-congruent people groups in two completely unrelated issues of one’s life?
Simply; at the limit when they become the most contradictory to my view or perspective, they also identify the point at which I am forced to face my own comfort zones. Comfort zones are about as high as you can get on my “I abhor” chart, yet they are so, comfortable, I, we, build them very carefully. A comfort zone according to my definition is established according to some conventional and some private or personal idea about priority and is rooted in fear and/or selfishness. Never the less, comfort zones these are and I am faced with my own personal demonstration of how difficult it is, in actuality how almost impossible it is to break down or through your very own, well constructed ‘comfort zone’.
The younger group is somewhat easily managed, call the parent on premise and instruct them on the need for intervention. Hey (name deleted to conserve family relationships) come get your kids, or kid and do something about this noise or whatever has crossed the line and endangered my comfort zone. The ‘unnamed’ parent may give a sideways look but they are as interested in preserving some sense of family peace as anyone else and the real purpose of this situation or series of situations is family and family is about as high a priority as I can place so, all works, well most of the time.
The other group though has as its priority an almost diabolical focus to challenge everything I think or have thought about the process of intercession in the social, cultural, economic, educational and relational challenges and opportunities which must be confronted, overcome, developed or replaced in both the short and long term concerning breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy which sheds its shadow of hopelessness across the generations of rural Africa in general and the village of Rionchogu specifically.
It may seem as if this would be the place where I would be most willing to have my comfort zone challenged and most willing to tread in unseen footsteps of the one who guides. The opposite is more accurately the unpleasant truth. Perhaps the zonal reality follows my, our, ability to remain in some sense in control. Experience some sense of purpose and some external acceptability of the efforts extended yet have planned well and work the plan with determination, dedication and focus. Set a goal and pursue it.
Fortunately or unfortunately in the case of work in Africa there has not been a plan, or even goals. I would say even the depth of the real issues at hand have only slowly risen in the upheaval that is this cycle of poverty and illiteracy. The comfort zone has been in some ways the lack of a plan to work. So my younger adult irritants point to the need for a developed understanding of what our Purpose would look like, in real terms, in terms that relate to the daily life as lived in the village and surrounding area and here, in this place of abundance.
End the comfort of the “solo Performance” and approach those of means, with a compelling view revealing how we see the cycle being broken. Stand up and be exposed in public for what you say is an answer to a concern which so far has evaded corrective efforts, even by governments.
Bring on the 0 to 4’s or 5’s bring ‘em on, by the dozen. Their invasion is the easiest zone to get past.