Okay, so 534,389 means nothing…but basically, I learned a whole lot of things in Uganda, and this is one of them.
When you read that word, what thoughts came to mind? Do you see tension as having a positive connotation or a negative one? People often view tension in a negative light, but I am learning to appreciate tension. I owe this partially to my time in Uganda.
Now let me clarify a few things. When I say I’m learning to appreciate tension, I am speaking of healthy tension. But your next question may be, “What is healthy tension?” I see healthy tension as allowing yourself to feel the weight of the complexity of this world, of this life, and of faith while also feeling the certainty of God’s character, of hope, and of faithfulness.
This world is broken. People suffer daily. We feel pain. We feel hurt. We feel loneliness. We watch those around us suffer. We watch the world falling apart. We see and hear of children starving. We sit and watch as people turn against one another. We see and hear and participate in bloodshed. In war. In torture. In hurt. In lies. In judgment.
Yet God is love. God created the world. God created us. God loves the world. God loves us. God is good. God is faithful. God is our hope. God is just. God is merciful. God extends us grace. He is our strength. Our promise. Our life.
Sometimes reconciling our knowledge and experience of this life and of this world with God’s character and His promises seems hard. But here’s what I have realized…it doesn’t have to be so black and white. Gray area isn’t a bad thing. I don’t think it is anyways.
When I first went into my Uganda semester, some of what we discussed in Faith & Action wasn’t sitting well with me (to begin with). Why? Because we were challenged on things I have assumed as truth for many years now. It was even harder because we would read one book that “answered” a question one way and the next book would answer the same question a different way. What should I think? What is truth? Who is right and who is wrong? I was uncomfortable because I used to always think it had to be black and white. Yes or no. Right or wrong. Through discussions, readings, prayer, and a lot of thinking…I concluded that gray is okay. Tension does not have to be a bad thing. Not all things are black and white.
My classes in Uganda coupled with my experience living there helped me learn to embrace tension. I not only allow tension, but I appreciate it and at times welcome it.
I don’t have all the answers, and many of my questions may forever remain questions. But here is what I know for sure…
I am called to love God. I am called to love people. I am called to seek to live faithfully each day. I am called to be a light to the world.
Beyond that, I welcome the gray.
I do seek truth, but I also recognize that there are many things in which God has kept a mystery to humanity.
Uganda helped me recognize this and appreciate tension for what it is.
Webale Uganda. Nkwagala nyo.
Meg (Spring 2011)