Monday, November 10, 2008


sur⋅prise   /sərˈpraɪz, sə-/ verb,
1. to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness:

This morning when I awoke I could still feel the pulse of Honduras in me… my heart felt full to overflowing. The idea that I would begin to lose my grip on the power of the trip seemed out of the question.

Now… hours later, I can feel myself going back to normal and with all that is within me I DON’T want that to happen.

My friend Julie challenged me today to write down the things I do not want to lose.

I have hesitated for two reasons…
the first is.. how cliché this is? I go to a third world country and have an awakening... it was only 5 days...
The second is that these are mere heartbeats… not well formed ideas yet. But because I am beginning to feel numb again and I will spurt them out here…

I was surprised to discover some of what being poor may really be and what it isn’t (lesser people).

I was surprised to discover people who on the surface, when they are still, seem weathered, in some cases even sad, but when they are engaged a warmth and life… a light, exudes from them like none I have ever seen.

I am surprised to be so challenged by the reality that saying your friends are your family… really isn’t the same as family being family.

I was surprised by Coty's answer, when I asked her what Hondurans like to eat? what their specialty was... she said "our food is for sustenance." What a concept. (Though... the black beans at Power Chicken are the best I've ever tasted)

I was surprised how much more tangible, close to the surface, as though it were in their veins, their relationship and dependence on God is.

I am surprised to learn how the separation of church and state in our country has created road blocks to the way the local church really can be the hope of the world; I saw church which wasn't a building, but in community, I saw sanctuary, a place of hope and refuge and grace rather than the government playing these roles…

I am surprised to be able to finally feel free to say that I love working with men. I have not fully owned this but Catherine Rohr’s testimony gave me permission to be real in this way... and heck, her men are convicted felons and murderers.

I am surprised to learn the universal power of communication. When you don't have common language and when you don't need it.

I am surprised to be so deeply affected by the reality that something I was part of really mattered. It was intoxicating, and it leaves me somehow longing and restless.

I am surprised how close to the surface a level of new intolerance for "much ado about nothing" stuff is. At times I wanted to scream don’t you/they/I realize that so little of what we concern ourselves with… really matters.

I am surprised how bothered I am that I don't really live a life focusing on the Next Generation with my own kids and with others and how simple it looked when i saw it in action.

I am surprised how little I know.

I am surprised how small the world really is and how little my world has become. two different things.

I am surprised how numbing my life, our culture is... the pace, the stimulus, the distractions. I am convicted at the pace of life that I lead and what I have missed and not gained, as a result.

Larry challenged me to being open to being surprised and he was so wise.


Anonymous said...

Amazing. Wonderful. Perfectly imperfect. I'll forward what one person (wisely) told me about revelations: Don't scab this over, meaning don't go back to "normal". Leave it open. I can hear the change in you! -K-

Anonymous said...

Janet -
Just read your blog about your trip - glad it was a good one!

Just a thought about your statement, "something I was part of really mattered. It was intoxicating, and it leaves me somehow longing and restless."
For us, summer camp can be like that.

But be careful where you find your significance or worth.

The devil will say -
You are ONLY a wife . . .
You are ONLY a mom . . .
You are ONLY . . .

But God says,
ONLY you are MIchael's wife
ONLY you are Chris, Molly and Abby's mom
ONLY you are Louise's daughter, and Jeff and Allen's sister
ONLY you . . .

"Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily"
Those "little occasions" really do matter. Make the most of them and enjoy them :)
Don't let your heart wander too far from home.

Love ya!

Janet Fraser said...

Thanks for this…
You are a very wise woman and this is probably exactly what I needed to hear this morning… thanks for sending it. - J

Melinda said...

Wow, I went through this as if translating it. I'd read a line or two and go back and read it agian...and again. The full message kept echoing each time yet became clearer with each my sight after putting my glasses on.

Deb, I REALLY liked your response!

Anonymous said...

maybe my favorite post of yours I have ever read

Heather Witherow said...

Hi Janet,
On the other hand, don't let this experience evaporate into just a great memory! The Lord planted something new in you and opened your eyes, heart, and mind to what He's doing in the world! Who knows what He will bring forward next...Africa??? :)
love, Heather