It’s Birthday Month!
There are lots of fun and impactful ways to celebrate EI’s 10th Anniversary this month! Whether it’s donating your age, registering for Instagram Giveaways, or purchasing our NEW Full Circle Necklace, you are raising awareness and bringing healing and hope to child survivors of war!
As we celebrate 10 Years of Healing, we take a moment to look back and reflect. The Exiled is a blog post from the earliest days of EI.
by Bethany Haley Williams
“The first great moment that I remember was when I was three years old– a storm – I tore my clothes and ran out in it – and I have been doing that in storms ever since.”
– Kahlil Gibran
Reuniting to Norah, Lost in Gibran, and cuddled up next to the fire… I sit. Loving this quote as it reminds me of my first time seeing the ocean. We didn’t get out much when I was a kid – unless you count the woods behind my house and the tobacco patches in the summer. If you count that – we were out all the time. I loved that about my childhood. But, to see the ocean… that was a big deal. I think I was maybe 12 years old… I don’t know. We had taken our first big vacation. I remember being so excited that I ran out into the ocean with my clothes on. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car – I couldn’t get the door opened fast enough. As soon as the door opened, I started running as fast as I could. All of a sudden, I was waist up in salty water. Sweet salty water. Sweet.
Kinda like a storm – only different.
Having just come off of an incredible benefit, hearing the pain of Congo finally getting recognition on NBC, and knowing some dear brothers, Sean and David, will soon be returning to Goma within a matters of days – it causes many memories to flood back to my mind. I have been in recent contact with a great pastor in Congo, Pastor Kivy – a wise, wise man. He said it was good to hear from someone because he had felt abandoned.
Exile haunts me. I don’t mean an organization or an NGO or a non-profit. I mean the presence of exile. The feeling – the perception – the existence. The word. I opened the book I was reading tonight and this is what I read:
“I am a stranger in this world. I am a stranger in my exile. There is a grim isolation and a painful loneliness, yet it makes me ever think of a magical homeland that I do not know. Exile makes me dream with phantoms of a distant land that my eyes have not seen.”
On a recent plane ride into Uganda, I picked up my Bible and started reading one of my favorite verses. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Such a common verse in a common place, but my eyes went up a little higher on the page this time.. to the text title… it read this: “A letter to the Exiles.”
It gets deeper. That same day was the first day I walked into Village of Hope Uganda – a safe house for 19 orphans, all of which had been formerly abducted children – most of which had seen their parents killed or were forced to kill their parents. We walked in the house and I saw a verse painted on the wall. Surrounded by flowers and rainbows and butterflies, it read:
“For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11. And you know the rest : )
Yeah – it is all around me. Those who have been forced to run from rebels and tribal wars to safety, those who have been born and raised in a displacement camp for fear of returning home, scriptures talking about hope of the homeless…
Exile. Is it a powerful word.
If intimacy is the opposite of isolation, and isolation – at its deepest form – is the death of the Spirit, then exile is just that. It is the core of isolation and the absence of intimacy – of connection, of togetherness. It is being lost. So the answer becomes simple:
Being Found – Finding Warmth – Discovering Being Loved – Living Loved
The most precious definition of intimacy I have heard is simply this:
IN – TO – ME – SEE
Do you? See Me? Will I let you? Do I trust you? Will you love me? Intimacy. I have learned to value this word, and have come to realize that without the ability to be real about our deepest secrets and our deepest pain – we will never be found. And if we are never found, then aren’t we really just… lost?
Do you? See Me? Will I let you? Do I trust you? Will you love me? Here is the beautiful part: He Does. And Does. And Does.
He Sees – The Core – The Secrets – The Pain – and what does he do with it? He Loves. And Loves. And Loves.
Wishing you to let Him love you more. Wishing for you to love yourself and to find love in living. Does that mean that He agrees with every choice we make? Not at all – not even close. But I do know this – there is nothing that we could ever do that would cause Him to stop loving us. THAT is TRUE LOVE. Nothing that any human love can even begin to touch. And as we are loved – He wishes for us to love others. The broken, the bruised, the beaten. The orphans. The widows. The exiled. Those dear ones that Sean and David and Jonathan will be with soon. We love them with you. We love them through you. Love them back. So as I listen to Norah sing “You humble me, Lord.” I think – Yes, You do. And may we be. May we, Lord, humble our spirits before we are humbled.
Gibran writes: “I write in verse life’s prose, and in prose life’s verse. This I am a stranger, and will remain a stranger until death snatches me away and carries me to my homeland.”
But until then – my prayer for you is to seek True Love. That we find the Strength to be Real and discover an Intimacy that defeats Isolation, and an Authenticity that defies Death. Fueling Life – Feeding Hope – Loving the loveless. Loving.
DONATE YOUR AGE
During August, donate your age to bring healing and hope to child survivors of war!
*Turning 25 this year? Donate $25!
REGISTER TO WIN!
Every week in August, there will be a new giveaway from Exile’s store!
Visit @exileintl to register to win!