Clearing the Clouds

It has been a while since I last said I would write blogposts weekly!

We always have nothing but good intentions don't we? Often life gets in the way, but ultimately, it 's harder for me to write than it is for me to watch Netflix, and as a result, I do one more than the other. Because one is ultimately more fun. But one is also ultimately more rewarding for me I think. The latter is writing, in case you were wondering. It's kind of unfortunate that what is more fun isn't always the most rewarding eh? I wish life worked that way.

Anyways, part of the reasons why it took me so long to write another post was because I was sick. Like, sick enough that I went to the doctor here in Madrid to find out what the heck was wrong with me (it ended up just being the flu, but with crazy Spanish symptoms like a swollen throat, which freaked me out but is apparently normal), but I had to be in quarantine at home away from work for a while, which was very boring. And writing is hard when your head feels cloudy.

Still, that's lots of opportunity to write, right?-

YES. Which I did. And I wrote a full blogpost. A full one, which pictures and everything. But then, as I was uploading the thumbnail to the post, the spinning beach ball of death appeared. And then when it went away, I went to double check the post, and lo and behold, every single, FRIGGIN THING WAS GONE.

I was very angry. I wanted to pick up and throw everything in my room and rip my computer in half. It was a whole lot of effort that I ended up doing for nothing, and that makes me incredibly angry. Effort wasted gets to me. That was last Sunday, the 22nd. So as a result, I didn't end up writing anything for that week.

There's something about putting yourself into words that you just don't want to do twice. It made me angry again to think about it. I know I should have saved it or something (Squarespace really needs an autosave function), but that's easy to say in hindsight, especially when something freaky like that hasn't happened before.

So whatever, didn't write anything because I was sick and writing was already difficult to begin with and also because I did write something and then it got deleted and I was v angry.

But I'm back! So here's a quick recap of my two weeks.

1. The Work

*Click on the pictures to cycle through more pictures!

This honestly took up the least amount of time, because of the part-time nature of my work but also because I missed so much of it (5 days in total). That said, I was able to part of something cool, my first campaign! 

My NGO works in campaigns, generally. A transparency campaign, an anti-corruption campaign, that sort of thing. The campaign I got to be a part of (doing social media and keeping track of requests) was a campaign to try to reveal the details of the travel expenses of EU Commissioners. This is especially important because EU Commissioners are not MEPs; they are not elected, they are selected. That means it's all the more important to keep them accountable, because they use EU taxpayer money even though they were not voted into their position by us.

This campaign was all sparked when someone from my team discovered that the Commissioner President spent over 63,000 on an air taxi during the G20 summit in 2015. That's an awful lot, so we tried to figure out why. And the information was very long in coming. For something that ended up being apparently a valid reason, they were awful secretive about it for a very long time. So there's something fishy about the whole thing, in all honesty. Anyways, it was fun putting in some work, creating some tweets, all for the reason of keeping institutions accountable!

The stuff dreams are made of folks :) STICK IT TO THE MAN i.e. the bloated bureaucracy

2. Toledo + Málaga

In the midst of my sickness was a trip to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site where Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived for a time in peace, together, in the same city. And it's a beautiful place.

Now, while I really shouldn't have gone (and indeed, my sickness got a lot worse after I went), it was a trip I had already paid for in my internship fee, and I sure as heck wasn't missing it. And I was so glad I went. Everything was beautiful. Here in Madrid it's easy to tell the age of a lot of what is around me, but in Toledo, since we spent our time in the centre of it where most of it is still as it has been for centuries, it was so much more. It was stunning. The cathedral in particular I think was my favourite part. It had been built over the course of 500 years, and every single, immaculate, painstaking detail showed that. The cathedral looked like work, and as our tour guide was keen to note multiple times, this temple was built for the glory of God. To give to God what is His. And that's pretty incredible. Regardless of the faults of those who made beautiful places like this, and regardless of where people think money should have gone, there is a beauty in making a place of worship as beautiful as possible for the glory of God. Now, while I'm 100% sure that not everyone who contributed to and help to build this cathedral was doing so to give glory to God, I think there were quite a few who were doing so. And that is beautiful, because like all beautiful things, while they are flaws and nuances to it, that does not take away its inherent quality.

It was a great time. Wonderful to be with the other interns, and in general to explore and see a different place, even if I felt like death afterwards. Honestly, it's a true and great blessing to be around these people that have become my friends. The value of another person is something that I will never be able to quantify, and when I get to know others and see who they are, I never ceased to be amazed by how much I come to care for them, for who they are and what they want and what they need. People are beautiful. I'm grateful for my other interns. Can't wait to enjoy the weekend with them in Salamanca!

Now Toledo was great, but Málaga sure was too, in a different way.

Málaga was a breath of fresh, Mediterranean air. I travelled there by high speed train, which was a fun experience, despite it's heavy price tag. It was warm, there were palm trees everywhere, and the general, laid-back, summery feel was a boon to a tired, sick, soul. It was nice to wander the streets, and climb the very high heights to explore the ancient castles of Alcazaba and Gibralfaro. It was stupid high, so much effort to climb. But it was worth it for the incredible views, and in general just to get out and be in the sun. That Vitamin D was much needed. It was a nice time to unwind, and just be on my own, in a beautiful place. 

Sometimes solitude is good.

3. A Cloud

You are good, You're good.

He is always, irrevocably, eternally good.

When I first wrote this blogpost, I wrote about the cloud. Now in addition to the cloud of sickness that was over me that whole week, I was also going to write about the cloud about turmoil that I felt engulfed with, involving the inauguration of Donald Trump, and the vast, and hideous amount of divisiveness that him and his team produced. It's truly incredible, and what all this has done is to stir up an incredible amount of emotion and feelings, negative and positive and angry and joyful. I was going to write angry things, things that I believed to be righteously angry about, and state them with boldness and all the savagery that I could.

Now, a week apart about from that fateful night when my blogpost was mysteriously deleted, I'm left wondering if that event was strangely 'a God thing.' Maybe He wanted to affirm to me, like He did in this song that I can't stop playing, that He is good. He is never going to let me down. His purpose is greater, greater than any bigot, orange president of the United States, greater than any angry, intolerant liberal, than any angry intolerant conservative, greater than my angry intolerant self. He is above and beyond it all, and my citizenship isn't ultimately here, it's above where He is.

This was a creeping realization that I kind of just happened upon, but it to me, seems like what I was supposed to know all along, to realize that I, the greatest of any sinner, am subject to Him and His goodness. Who am I, in reality, but one saved by grace?

God clears the clouds, of anything and everything that is going on this earth, because He transcends it all, He is sovereign through it all, and He will be here when it all passes away. 

So no matter that contradictions I feel, the anger I feel, the anger that I read and empathize with, the viewpoints I read and am disgusted by, He is above it all, and He is ultimately worthy of my faith. What can I do but trust in His goodness? When I read all that everyone believes, everything that everyone is doing in regards to the turmoil that Trump has instigated, I feel helpless, and often torn. And while I must not, will not, stop working and advocating for those who are hurting and helpless, especially those made more so by his actions, ultimately, I know there is one who is charge.

And He will never fall off of His throne.

He has cleared my clouds.

I hope, and pray He can clear yours too.