The CI-UCBC International Staff received word this week that we are to delay our return to Beni for another several days, perhaps a week. The situation in Beni is stabilizing. The 6:30pm – 6:00am curfew remains in place and the city has been spared large-scale events. A few days ago an attack on a village just north of the UCBC campus was repulsed without casualties. Two arrests were made the following day. They resulted in the confession of an a FARDC (DRC army) soldier to complicity in that and previous attacks. The resulting investigations have given citizens some assurance that authorities are taking action. CI-UCBC leadership and staff remain in close and consistent contact with a variety of security sources, local government, and NGOs.
But the verdict for us is, “Wait.”
Waiting is work. It isn’t easy work. We Americans like to do. We likeoutcomes and evidence. We like completed reports and PowerPoint presentations, painted fences and repaired plumbing, the kitchen cleaned and the trash emptied. But sometimes the work we are called to do is to wait, to sit in the middle of our powerlessness. We are, after all, powerless over people, places, and circumstances. The only real power any of us has is power over ourselves and our responses to people, places, and circumstances. The rest is illusion.
Waiting is an opportunity to sit in the silences, to listen, to feel breath and heartbeat. Waiting is time to open our eyes and see what we miss when we are busy with our doing.
So what are some of the things my eyes have opened to during waiting time? Here are a few:
- My character defects. In spite of my best efforts to be self-aware, my impatience and desire to be in charge slip in through the cracks in the day.
- Memories in need of healing. Some very old and not-so-old memories have stepped out of the closet and into my heart. This waiting time gave them permission to reveal themselves. This waiting time offered space for them to breathe and heal.
- Smiling. I want to smile more. I will smile more.
- Answers to prayer. God continues to strengthen, heal, and protect loved ones in Beni, in the US, and elsewhere. Two UCBC staff members are brand new parents, and we rejoice in the safe deliveries of their babies. People who were sick are now well. Loved ones who have been struggling know respite.
- Young leaders at UCBC living into their responsibilities. Service learning interns have been meeting with faculty to advise on curriculum. The YECA Fellows and Creation Care Committee have introduced their plans to the UCBC community and welcomed new members into their ranks.
O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
BCP, Prayer for Quiet Confidence, p. 832