Capture the Flag started to play as the tram took off. Yesterday, Kelsey and I finalized plans for a small holiday in November. In preparation for the Broken Social Scene and Menomena show in Holland, I thought it would be fun to experience Brno with a soundtrack.
After three or four days of looking out the windows on the tram, I began reading. And I've finished my first book :). It was, Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. It is a journal of the author's life as he augments his skin pigmentation from white to black in 1959, before freedom rides, Rosa Parks and the great MLK jr. He keeps his same identity-name, credentials, clothes, etc.- the only thing that he changes is the darkness of the brown in his skin. He tours the southern states and tells you of his accounts.
I recently watched a movie called, Hurricane, with Denzel Washington and in the beginning there is a boy and his mentor attending a used book fair and the boy asks his mentor how on earth is he supposed to find a book. His mentor responded with something along the lines of the book often chooses you.
Black Like Me, as cheesy as it may sound, chose me. One of my favorite things about marrying Kelsey was his book collection. He has many books, all of which I plan to read. We were fortunate enough to take one small suitcase with us full of books, sketch pads, colored pencils and paints. When packing our apartment we were going through what books we wanted to bring with us, I would see a book and ask Kelsey if he thought it was a good one to bring and vice versa. When I came across Black Like Me Kelsey said it was an excellent book, but I should save space for a different book, so I put the book in the maybe pile and it ended up in the suitcase.
As I began reading this book, I felt this knot in my stomach that this wasn't going to be relevant to my life right now, that how could the integration era of the States be at all helpful to me, right now?
The Salvation Army or Armada Spasy has three centers that Kelsey and I help out with, all of youth clubs, Jonas (Pronounced: Yo-nush), Stankova (sta-nko-va, if that makes sense), and Kornerova (Korr (roll that R!)-nerr-o-vuh). Jonas has Czech kids that attend, while Stankova (the corps building) and Kornerova has gypsy kids that attend. Kornerova is in a particularly rough neighborhood and the kids there are different than any other kids I've ever dealt with (dealt is a bit of funny word here, but it will do). They are tough kids and very very clever. There is a sort of unspoken pecking order among the kids that surprises me every time I see it pan out. When I found out we were coming to the Cz. Rep., I was instantly excited about working with the gypsy or Roma community. I wanted to play games with them and hang out with them and love them. After being at that community center twice though, I felt like I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to be with the kids who picked on each other, who didn't know how to share and who didn't listen to anything anyone said. Then I started reading my book...
The book really did chose me. Or more so, God chose that book for me. I'm happy that I read it and I'm more happy that God supplied me with a heart for those children once again.
So, I've finished Black Like Me and have moved on to a book called, Green Revolution: coming together to care for creation by Ben Lowe. It is pretty self explanatory what it's about, you know taking care of what God has entrusted us with- a little thing called the earth... ever heard of it? Pretty important. Well, I've been reading that each morning and evening listening to Broken Social Scene and having beautifully scary moments with God. Feeling so convicted, thankful, hopeless, encouraged, enraged, confused about why we as humans, more so as Christians have stood back for so long throwing away creation...this is a tangent, more of a rant that I probably shouldn't get started on.
a great equation:
God + books + music = happiness.
Kelsey is sick, poor guy. I gave him my cold... I'm pretty good at sharing. Yesterday after work I didn't want to go straight home so I told him to go home and I would meet him later and bring home something yummy to eat later. I kissed him goodbye and very soon after I realized it was one of the best decisions of my life. I put on my Ipod, more BSS and Menomena and wandered around looking at the brightly painted multi-hundred year old buildings, trying my absolute hardest not to sing and dance with excitement. I felt free-not because I was without Kelsey, but because I could only think and wonder in amazement at each passing store, sign and person.
I live in Europe.
I live in the Czech Republic!
I live in Brno, serving God and his people! What a blessing God has given to me. I am almost in tears thinking about what I have on my plate right now, what task I have been given. How is it that God loves me so much even after I continue to let him down, that I am here. Here on behalf of Him. It blows my mind.