School has a funny way of getting under my skin. Talks given by professors months ago ruminate in my mind, and suddenly, my somewhat foolproof worldview has been dismantled piece by piece. Maybe I am exaggerating. Then again, maybe not.
A vein of thought that has recently been distilled for me into a clear realization is that I don’t believe in international development. I believe in relationships. Months of questions about international engagement have brought me to this place in which I am forced to reject the current model of “international development”. Feeling rather as if I am in a hot air balloon, without much control yet on an amazing adventure in which I am learning to see things from a brand new perspective, I have suddenly floated into a new place. Development- does that have a place in friendships? Do I seek to develop my friends, my family? I know that when I do, it ends in failure, and usually I walk away feeling remorseful because of my own pride. If ‘development’ has no place in the most intimate of relationships in my life, how can I muster the pretense that it has a place in my relationships, or complete lack thereof, with people whom I have yet to meet and nations that are not my own?
The whole paradigm of international development has lost its fizz -it is of an era that is quicky fading into yesterday for something new is on the horizon- I believe that as I/we come to a place of recognizing and embracing our own poverty, we will walk in a new humilty in which the old model of seeking to develop someone else, will be inconceivable. There is simply something new that is emerging in my heart- a way of pursuing life that is not based on my own development, or that of my resume, but on a continual process of transformation from the inside out.
People are not a project and nations are not an experiment on economic policy or agricultural technology. There is a space between; a life lived in the dynamic equilibrium between the old and the new- the old is quickly becoming obsolete, the coming of the new is like the hint of sun rising over the mountains in the still morning dawn. Could it be that what seems new is simply a return to the old ways, a turning from the crooked ways of this world and a pursuit of a path less traveled. We are moving towards something so old it looks new, yet like the flower bud on the beautiful bush outside my house; it is there, has always been there, yet offers brand new flowers again this spring. My longing for a new way seems to be unique, and it is, for me. Yet like the budding bush outside of my house, or the sun that rises every morning, it has blossomed and it has risen in era’s gone past, dropped its petals, died, traveled the earth, and set, and come to life again many times over. The rising and setting of the sun is new every day, yet never changes. Amidst the repetition, it is new today. Will we see it this time, and embrace it?