I feel like a crazy person tonight. I think Naseem is also crazy. The end. I just thought I should warn you.
So who wants to hear about the orphanage? I don't even feel like writing actual paragaphs composed of actual sentences, so I think that I might just resort to a Top 5 list. Ready?
5. Taryn's birthday: Naseem and I had the world's worst day off on Saturday (don't ask, I'm still bitter) but it was redeemed by Taryn's birthday dinner; almost all the staff got to go out to eat and have cake. Maybe cake doesn't sound like a highlight to you, but then again, maybe you aren't as pathetic as me.
4. Dolphins: Today Naseem and I got to watch some dolphins jumping and flipping around. They were cute, but not as cute as Naseem and me. Trust me.
3. We changed all of Scott Kenneth Peckler's Facebook info. It was priceless. Did y'all know about his pasion for unicornios? Check it out. It comes highly recommended.
2. A Christian school on the island has offered to take Kerry, Nolan, and Sarah to school...starting sooner rather than later. This isn't set in stone for sure, but we are all crossing our fingers that things will work out. I think it would be so helpful for them to be in class with other kids. It would definitely be hard because they are so behind but I'm not sure I have much faith in my own ability to handle learning disabilities, so I would be grateful to have them in the hands of someone who can work with them more practically.
1. Brandon doesn't live here anymore. I don't mean to include this as the number 1, best thing (because I wish this could've been a good environment for him), but it certainly is relevant news. He had a freak-out the other day in which he physically drew blood and he was given one more chance before he was sent back to live with his mom; obviously he acted out again and he and his mom packed his things and that was that. A lot of thought was put into this decision: it wouldn't have happened had everyone not thought that Brandon's presence here was not beneficial to his well-being and was detrimental to that of the other kids.
Ok, so now I want to spend a bit of time discussing something I've been thinking about a bit lately. I'm reading THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand, for which Scotty has already judged me, but whatever. Anyway, so in this book, Ayn Rand puts forth the idea that the way man achieves greatness is through his own selfishness; in other words, man's ego is the fountainhead of his profound achievement, therefore success and selflessness are mutually exclusive. Rand exposes two kinds of selfishness: the honest, personified by the hero Howard Roark, an architect who builds for himself and does not care for the rules which society dictates, and the dishonest, manifest in Roark's rival, the wildly successful Peter Keating who, despite his mediocrity, has cheated and manipulated his way into society's upper eschelons. The honest sort of selfishness leads to true success, whereas the latter leads only to a superficial achievement, despite the fact that this is the success which society glorifies. So, is this true? Is the only way to "succeed" to put oneself and one's ambition ahead of everyone and everything?
My initial reaction was to fight this proposal but then when I thought about it, I suddenly found myself in her camp. Sure, to succeed--and here are the key words--by society's standards, it is inevitable that one must place himself first...because that's how society operates. Right? The world helps those who help themselves (but in THE FOUNTAINHEAD, this is only to an extant: society rejects those they fear for their reckless innovation), and those who cannot or do not help themselves are allowed to be cast aside. This is not my own personal view--to adopt this credo is to deny a basic tenet of Christianity--but I sort of feel like this is what is preached by the prosperous. Sure, humanitarianism is a fad right now, but for the most part, the idea of the inherent importance of selfishness is certainly underlying the actions of a broken world. I think that to see this is to identify correctly what my dad calls "the bogus world system." This is what the world teaches, but it is not what the Truth is. We are fallen and broken and thus enslaved by an innate selfishness. The world tells us: don't sacrifice your dreams, do what makes you happy, etc, etc. These are wonderful adages and not ones to be dispensed of before analyzing, but if these are taken to the extremes, as we tend to do, then suddenly "don't sacrifice your dreams" becomes "sacrifice everything for your dreams at any cost." And if you do that, well, you'll probably make it, whatever "it" may be.
But is it worth it? From a Christian standpoint, the answer is a resounding no. We, if we are rightly pursuing a theistic worldview, place value not on our worldly success and wealth but on our bounty through Jesus Christ. According to the world's standards, however, it's worth it to give up everything to achieve greatness, even love, even beauty, even community. In THE FOUNTAINHEAD, a girl gives a little speech about she cannot possibly do something she loves or even be in love with someone because she would then owe the world something: she would be dependent on the world not to take away who or what she loves; therefore, she would be enslaved by her hope, relying on her selfishness as her sole rescuer. She can destroy that which she loves because to have it would destroy her freedom. She must disregard the world and focus solely on her own needs in order to survive. Isn't this what we tend to do? I've mentioned before our flirtation with destruction and how it makes us feel alive, how it proves the mannishness of our humanity; this seems an extension: if we hope for something, we are trapped by our desire, thus we become held captive, so we destroy to prove simply that we can. We tell the world, and this includes the marginalized, that we are too busy getting by or too caught up in the whirlwind of our achievement to care for it. All that matters is, essentially, ourselves. (Here, some may argue that because this world system is inherently corrupt, we are given a "get out of jail free" card: we cannot fix it so why bother? Wouldn't it be better to expend our energy on something that offers material gain? Yes and no. It is true that we cannot fix the world, but we are called to care for it, to act as stewards and caregivers, and to serve is the best thing we can do).
I would like to argue that selfishness is not a freeing thing, but rather something that enslaves. I see where we could pass it off as freedom--it is liberating to disregard what the world teaches as truth, but this is where it stops. Selfishness holds us captive in the respect that we become prisoners to our own worldview. When we can no longer look past ourselves, the world suddenly becomes a lot more limited and thus our ability to be relevant for the Truth fades away.
I believe that to be free is to hope. We have been given freedom in Christ: we have been give the ability to hope for a different world, a kingdom, a place that is not governed by the bogus world system. Not to have hope is to be imprisoned by fatalism.
Ok, I hope this has made sense. I keep feeling like I've missed a few crucial points and I'm sure once I exit the blog, I'll remember what I was going to say. Then the internet will go out. Then bugs will bite me and the ceiling fan will probably fall on Naseem. That's just the way life goes around here. Hope all is well Stateside.