Both/And.

Hello, dear readers! It’s been awhile. My bad.

I’ve discovered it’s quite difficult to live a full life worth writing about while simultaneously finding the time to write about it. But I promise I’ve been busy and have lots of stories and updates and thoughts to share!

I just finished up an amazing visit to Cape Town, South Africa – a place that easily rivals New Zealand for the most naturally beautiful spot I’ve visited this trip. I mean, wow. Actually truly breathtaking.

I spent my first couple of days at the incredible home of my new friends Cathy and Anthony – friends that I hope to share more about in the future. They are wonderful, kind, generous folks who opened up their dream of a home to me. Such a gift.

I visited Kirstenbosch gardens (which might as well be the Garden of Eden) and the V and A Waterfront and the insanely beautiful Table Mountain. I completely understood why everyone had told me that Cape Town was one of their favorite cities.

But after a few days cocooned in paradise, it was time to visit the other reality of South Africa. A reality that is equally beautiful in its own way, but also so very painfully hard.

I spent the majority of the past week living in a colored township called Ocean View in the far south of Cape Town.

My friends Casey and Sarah are missionaries living and serving in Ocean View, and they welcomed me into their world. I got set up with a host family, connected with a few local ministries, and settled in.

Each day, I drove past lines of police cars ready for scheduled riots in the black township across the street. I listened to stories of people getting stabbed while walking home. I watched my new friend who was my age attempting to detox from a 14-year meth addiction. I watched kids cough with the sure noises of TB, ask politely for food because they hadn’t eaten yet that day, and walk alone at night because their parents weren’t around. Drugs and gangs and brokenness were everywhere. And the remnants of apartheid covered the city.

I saw so much pain and poverty.

But at the same time, I saw my host parents, Doreen and Reggie, welcoming me in with open arms. I saw incredible vistas and service-minded friends and children playing in the yard. I went to a farmers market and drove to the tip of the continent and saw kids in school learning from rockstar teachers. I found crunchy peanut butter in the grocery store. I mean, come on. Talk about amazing.

I saw so much life.

Because Cape Town is broken, but Cape Town is also beautiful.

Both/And.

Dangerous and welcoming.

Easy and hard.

Past and present.

Black and white and colored.

Hopeful and heartbreaking.

This is the reality I experienced in South Africa, but I think it’s also the reality everywhere. If you look hard enough, there are always two sides to a city. A home. A person.

And it comes as no surprise that I see this pattern everywhere, because it’s what I’ve come to see as a mark of Jesus. The things that shouldn’t be able to coexist but do.

Grace and justice.

God and human.

Dead and alive.

Jesus was all about the both/and. And therefore, so am I.

I don’t want to ignore the pain and brokenness, but I don’t want to get stuck there either. I want to celebrate the beauty while recognizing the pain. I want to work toward a bright future while respecting the reality of the past. I want to be a part of this broken, beautiful world, loving broken, beautiful people.

Because it’s good. So hard. And so so good.

Both/And.

 

If you want to support incredible work happening in Ocean View and the surrounding townships, I encourage you to check out this amazing fundraiser helping a group of boys access a college education in the States. My friends run Ubuntu Football Academy, and I spent the week with some of the guys in the program. They are amazing and so deserving of this opportunity. Check it out at http://universityofubuntu.causevox.com/ 

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