Today is the day! I’m writing this blog from a cute little coffee shop in Salt Lake City. Trav and I just landed and we have a few hours to kill before boarding our flight to Amsterdam.
(If you don’t read every word I write on all social media channels, I judge you and I have some news: Trav and I are heading to Kenya for the next four-ish months. We will be working at a children’s home—him as an engineer, me as a photographer.)
It’s been a wonderful, weird, and sad week. Wonderful: my mom was in town. My sister and the kids came home. One of my best friends got married. I got to wrap up a ton of work. Weird: I still lived in a basement with only 25% of my things accessible to me. I was super busy when all of my favorite people were in the same place. Trav had his last day of work. I got a tattoo. Sad: I said goodbye to my puppy for four months this morning. Way sadder: The state of our nation.
I’m not going to politicize this. Well, not too much. But I feel like I can’t write about the excitement I feel in my very bones for the adventure I’m about to have without first acknowledging the reality we are facing as a country.
We elected a silly man. (I use that we in reference to this nation, because I certainly didn’t cast a vote for him.) He speaks quickly and out of turn. He looks and acts like a cartoon character on his best day. And he is blatantly racist on his worst. I’m frustrated that a lot of my white friends continue to act surprised, shocked even, that he is “capable” of this. Capable? He is this. He has always been this. I don’t want to hear about the other options we did or didn’t have. We chose this.
I want to be better than the privilege I come from. I want to look at it dead in the face and say that I will do more for those around me. I will listen harder and speak slower. I will ask people of color where I fit into the race equation and do my best to advocate when asked and step back when it’s not my right to speak. As I’m about to leave America, I’m ashamed and sad to call this man my President. But my shame isn’t enough. And neither is yours. Silence is compliance, so if you’re not saying you disagree with him, I will assume you’re with him. And I just don’t understand how anyone can be with him at this point.
All this to say, I walked into this week with some confusing emotions. Like I said, there was a lot to celebrate and enjoy. But somehow my excitement felt selfish. I never want to be so short-sighted that I forget what other people are going through or what fights they are fighting. But I also know that this trip to Kenya is inherently about being part of something bigger than ourselves. Recent events in our country have sharpened our convictions about why we are going on this trip. We now view it as the most powerful reaction we can have to the hatred we are all bearing witness to.
This is getting rambly, but I mean every word. I was supposed to just write a light-hearted, “Hey! Follow along on our journey over the next few months! We will both be writing on this blog, updating as regularly as we can.” But that felt trite and inappropriate, albeit true. I’m sorry for being such a downer, but I hope it sets the stage for how seriously we are taking the work we are about to do.
Thank you for reading this, and thank you for your interest in our lives. Hopefully I will soon be flooding your feeds with photos of Kenyan countryside, adorable children, and beautiful stories of how God is working on the other side of the world. Let’s all do a little more good as we close out this roach of a year.