Why does it feel like so much has changed in the simple shift of seasons? In the course of a few weeks, one semester has ended and another begun, I have moved out of one home and into another, the hottest season of the year has arrived, and I have started keeping specific plants in my house to give me the maximum amount of fresh air. So many life changes!
Okay, so it’s hot here. That is the first and last topic of every conversation. And yet, at the same time this amazing thing happens: the street-side fruit stalls are more orange and red than they used to be. Mangoes and lychees, my friends, come to save the day just as our innards start to cook from the heat. It’s amazing how such delicious fruit can change your attitude. I think it’s commonly agreed that this is somehow God’s annual gift during an otherwise painful time of year.
Our second semester has not only started, it’s almost 30% over. Suddenly it hit me this week- all the new parts of this season have made me put my studies on the back burner. Yes, I am learning every day from simple day-to-day experiences, but those don’t turn into papers by themselves… This concerned me, until I started catching up on my readings and remembered that I love learning what I’ve chosen to study. Our two online classes this semester are Language & Culture Acquisition and Community Economics. A new friend at my current internship site told me about this video that provides an interesting bridge between language and economics. It’s not hard for me to get into language learning, but I’ve been reading for my economics class and am actually enjoying that just as much as language studies! The thing is that everything I learn, I can see. We read about the informal economic sector, and ten minutes later I walk down my street and count the number of street stalls that do not fall under the regulations or protection of the law. And I start seeing the charts in my head and realize: I’m in the right program.
In the last week, I’ve had the joy of attending a wedding, watching and somewhat understanding (for the first time) a cricket match, visiting with some new friends who I met via email through my parents in Canada, and Skyping with my Korean friend in Poland. The world is so broad and yet connected, and there is so much to learn from one other. Maybe this will be a season of joy.
But the news has been particularly difficult to read recently. This darkness humanity has chosen since time began continues to spread: from Nigeria to Santa Barbara to Kolkata. We read about pain and uncertainty, corruption and exploitation. It seems like the good “news” is always on the small scale. Maybe this will also be a season of grief.
Someone once wrote of the city of Jerusalem: “The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails.” (Zephaniah 3:5) If God is bringing justice to light in our cities, in which direction must we be looking to miss it? If we have been called the light of the world, then might the darkness not be a problem we can help with?
May this above all be a season of courage and hope.