Posts tagged ‘Rainbow Town’

A Third-World View of Survivorship

Over the past several days, I’ve had the opportunity to get together with Taylor. While unknown to most of the world, those who’ve seen the documentary Rainbow Town know who I’m talking about. Taylor is one of the children featured in a film about a Liberian orphanage and is currently traveling around the United States. My friend Amy hosted him over the weekend and today he spoke at our church. As I’ve gotten involved with Rainbow Town, my heart’s grown for this amazing group of people in West Africa. Not only are they beautiful, courageous and strong. I’m convinced they’re some of the most faithful individuals on the planet.

rainbow-town-taylor-avenue-church

Taylor hanging out with our life group from The Avenue Church!

Emotional roller coaster

I’ve experienced many emotions during the few interactions I’ve had with Taylor. I imagine this is common when you either travel to third-world countries or meet people from them. Guilt – I was born a “Westerner” and have “simple” privileges like cars and credit cards. Sadness – no child should have to live through war. Embarrassment – he must think we’re so lazy. (He walks 1 hr 45 min to school ONE WAY!) Excitement – his passion to be a pastor is contagious. Joy – God SAVED him! And most of all – humbled. Now that’s a survivor.

Defining Survivor

I am a survivor of cancer. And Taylor, he is a survivor of war. And while I certainly am not trying to liken our experiences – I do understand life-threatening situations that leave physical wounds, emotional scars and life-changing consequences. We both identify with the word “survive.”

danielle-burgess-taylor-rainbow-town

What an honor to meet this guy!

The thing about Taylor though is that he doesn’t find his identity in survivorship. He’ll openly talk about being orphaned at birth and tied naked to a tree as a 4-year-old when rebels overtook his country; however, Taylor always ends with the point that God saved him. God had mercy on him and rescued him. No calls for pity. No room for tears. He shares his story to share about Jesus.

Finding Purpose in our Pain

Taylor’s story isn’t about Taylor – it’s about Christ. And that’s the way it should be. This teen has already found the purpose for his difficult life circumstances. He has no question about why he survived war, and what he’s to do now. And I’m rapidly taking notes.

I live in America where we process our feelings and talk about what happened. In the midst of it, we also get a “free pass” when it comes to our faith. We often aren’t pushed to lay down the pride and selfishness that can come with surviving something so awful. (After all – we do get a lot of attention and free t-shirts.) Instead, we can fall into the trap of self-pity and let ourselves off the hook. We think we’re acting like the Psalmist when we question God and blame him. However, for many of us – we can stay camped out at that place way too long, or never fully let God back into our hearts to do His work.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to have met Taylor. He’s showed me once again that there is purpose in survival that is far beyond ourselves. God works for our good and He loves us. No, life’s not always easy. And things aren’t going to be fair. But that doesn’t take away the fact that we are to fear Him and that He wants to use us. If we will just open up our hearts to Him, the journey through survival will make so much more sense… from any part of the world.

Advertisements

July 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm 2 comments

Wider Eyed

You ever get so wrapped up into something that you forget what life was like before the madness hit? I do.

The temptation to become so narrow-focused in the current situation comes on strong. It’s all too easy to lose sight of who I really am and what I’m all about. It’s hard to remember that life was going on before the madness hit, and that life is continuing as I wade through it.

Whether I’m in the midst of fighting cancer or dealing with an intense workload – it happens.

But I must remember that the world is still turning. I need to widen my view and remember there are things happening outside of my madness. There are other people with issues, causes and situations just as big as mine. I had a life before, and I will have one after. And actually – if I allow myself, I can have one in it’s midst.

Reminders to me that the world is still turning …

Oh my husband. We celebrated five years of being married earlier this month. He’s a ton of fun, and such a gem.

Oh this precious thing. I’m finding that being around kids can help take your mind off of some of life’s heavy stuff. Of course I realize I’m saying that as the friend and “cool Aunt B” and not a parent.

My green thumb is a growing! Here’s bean, along with his friends Tom, Pep and Zuc. I do my part and water, God does his and makes it grow.

Warning: spotlight sharing
I realize there are other issues in the world besides colon cancer. My friend Amy is passionate about one of them: Liberia. We traveled to Carbondale, IL to view the first showing of the documentary “Rainbow Town” her and her team help put together about a Liberian orphanage. You should check it out, it’s awesome.

June 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,129 other followers

Danielle on Twitter

We're a hit!

  • 63,436 hits

%d bloggers like this: