to sunshine.

Dear Friend,

Lately I’ve been dealing with something that I didn’t really think I had a problem with. Call that arrogance or ignorance, I don’t really know, but I just never thought that anger and the art of letting it go was a battle I’d be in the front lines of. Or at least, I never imagined it to look like this. I thought I had more patience, for myself and for others. I always talk about my life being drenched in grace, for myself and for others. Nice talk, Claire. “You’ve still got a long way to go in that, little one,” says my Savior.

I keep repeating to myself: open palms, open palms, open palms. God named this year for me. God named this life for me. Take the gifts, give thanks, keep them near but hold them loosely; and when it’s time for the gift to be passed on, let it go.

I didn’t realize it in the moment — isn’t that funny how you hardly ever do? It takes looking back to find the blessings and the lessons in the storms that have passed. But now I realize that a late Friday night in April was the first big moment in 2015 of utilizing this act of open palms, and learning the dance of throwing this anger and hurt to the stars and saying, “Can you please hold this for me, Father? It’s too heavy, I can’t do it with my own hands.”

In less than a week, I start the long journey over to Uganda.

Specifically to the Musana Community. Musana means “sunshine” and I cannot help but think how perfect it is that here in Colorado, it’s been rainy and cloudy and overcast and eighty shades of gloomy. Peaceful, sure, but also depressing. And in 6 days and 20 hours, I’ll be on my way to see the sunshine.

And something about picturing those hundreds of smiling little faces in the bright sunshine is literally tearing down my walls of anger and bitterness, hurt and the lies that have been stewing in my head for several weeks: You’re not good enough, Claire. Not good enough. Never good enough. Never enough.

The cure for a bitter heart, a confused heart, a hurting heart? I believe it goes a little something like this: hundreds and hundreds of sweet kids wearing neon-colored VBS t-shirts. Ugandan mangos and avocados. Sweat and dirt and running around until your legs feel like they will fall off. Long skirts and sunburns. Sunshine. Airplane rides with some of the coolest people you know. Waking up early and running through the lushness of Uganda. Bartering for artwork. Meeting new people. Stepping outside of yourself and fully jumping into appreciating the lives of others. Singing at the top of your lungs next to kiddos who are doing the same. Endearingly being called “mzungu” (white person). Laughing and crying and singing and shrieking with no fear, shame, embarrassment, regret.

How do you know, Claire? You’ve never even been there. And how do you know that all this silly stuff will help? That’s dumb.

I already know this without even experiencing it yet. Because these are the stories I’ve been told, and to praise God for the smallest of things is to find joy and peace in every moment. We serve a bubbly God, a whimsical God, a funny God, a joyful God. Our Savior loves silly moments, still moments, beautiful moments. Our Savior just loves moments, because that is when he gets us.

My heart is healing from a whirlwind month; and my heart is still harboring hurt. I know both are true. But I also know that Jesus has prepared an incredible week at Musana for my team and the community there, and he is going to renew a lot of hearts and minds during this time, mine included. And I believe that this trip can be a transition point, the start of a new chapter, for a lot of lives. It doesn’t only have to impact us for the week and maybe the week after we get back; it can impact the way we live for the rest of our lives. And that’s pretty darn exciting.

To sunshine!