India

18 Months

18 months of travel, volunteering, farming, writing, listening, learning, etc. is coming to an end. I made a list of words, ideas, thoughts, feelings that arose while thinking about the last year-and-a-half. It came out in poem form, and I decided to share it with you: Loss, grief, death, sadness, disillusionment, distrust, despair, abandonment, forsaken. Cross. Tears. Lament. Anger. Fist. Root yourself. Be present. Do not be afraid. Only in […]

Subverting the Powers

If I’m honest, nonviolence is easier for me to talk and theorize about than choose in real life. My imagination still entertains ideas of the revenge I would divvy out to those who oppress and abuse the ones I love. Even as I write this I find myself accusing, “Why are you writing an article on non-violent resistance Beth?”

Conversations with Kids

The content and depth of our daily conversation changed while staying at a K-12 boarding school.  One evening I was waylaid by a gaggle of preteen girls on my way from our outdoor kitchen to our room. The conversation went like this: Ma’am where is your husband? I want to speak Nepali with him. – He is in the kitchen. He is eating his dinner? – No, he is washing […]

Day in the Life || Sari Bari

Sari Bari is a place of vibrancy, of color, of life, of freedom. It is a place that one cannot easily forget, a place where hope is fought for tenaciously, where stories are sacred, where women are engaged in the daily work of redemption. It is not a place of romanticized ideals or tidy “success stories,” but an ongoing labor of love and community where celebration and tears, laughter and mourning, and all the rhythms of real life are played out.

Moving Beyond Servant Leadership for the Privileged

The Place of Honor I recently spent 3 months with women who had been entrenched in the brutality of the red light area of Kolkata. Having found their freedom, they spend their days making beautiful products out of used saris – a perfect picture of redemption. During our Christmas party they arrived, 60+ women decked out in their finest jewelry and gorgeous saris. And for lunch, the few men with […]

Gifts of Belonging

We pilgrims journeying to new places are continually given gifts: the gift of observing, sitting with others, watching and present; the gift of accompaniment, standing alongside as others live their lives; and at times the gift of invitation, joining in, welcomed as a member. Each day in the busy streets of Kolkata or the bougainvillea-dotted foothills in the north we have found one or more of these gifts. This time […]

These Two Worlds

I have never seen the sky before. The air is crisp and cool and the leaves in the trees above whisper their secrets. The crunch underneath my feet gives me the sensation that I am in Minnesota in the fall. The bright sun cascades its warmth on the hills coated with forest green and on the yellow and brown grasses of winter and on the pack of lime-green, yellow-bellied birds […]