Shaun has a great post up for the 40 Day Fast about raising kids who are aware of a world in need around them, as does Polly, on the blessings that our hands can be to others.
It's Monday morning and I'm already exhausted. The Fourth of July weekend was lots of fun, watching fireworks with friends, helping my sister pack up her house (How strange is it that after 12 years of one or the other (mostly her) of us being there, in a week, neither of us will live in Waco?), and getting some much-needed sleep. Oh, and watching that epic men's finale at Wimbledon.
Last night we started the fourth round of the Christian Life Commission Public Policy Institute. The PPI brings together high school students from across Texas to spend a week together in conversation about issues that rest at the intersection of faith and public policy. This is not a "Jesus wants you to be a Republican" kind of summer camp; instead, it's a remarkable chance for a group of talented young people to come together to think about how we can make a difference in a world full of hurt. It's a chance for students to make choices about what kind of people they want to be, and what kind of lives they want to live. It is not for everyone, but for the students who choose to spend a week in Austin each summer, it can be a life-changing experience.
(You can read more about what we do here.)
I love the PPI and did not want to miss this year, but I am tired. Teaching every morning at 8:30 for the past five weeks has taken its toll; I need to get a dissertation chapter out to the committee this week; and I leave for vacation in eight days. The fact that I am in charge of the very last thing we do every night at the PPI means I'm getting about 6 hours of sleep a night if I'm lucky, which isn't enough for me.
Reading Shaun's post, though, I remembered why it's worth it. I don't have kids of my own, but each summer, I get a chance to help a group of teenagers think about what it means to be a Christian in a world that's full of need. I get to encourage them to be the kind of people who will live in the knowledge that the world is bigger than our own narrow perspectives, and that our choices have a very real impact on whether other people live or die. I get to watch them meet all kinds of people who refuse to sit by while injustice happens, but who instead open a clinic, start a protest, or pass a bill that changes things. And I get to maintain relationships with them for the years to come, to watch them chose and change and grow and begin to take those steps towards changing the world.
And that's worth a little lost sleep.