Sunday, June 10, 2007

David in Nicaragua #7: 'introduction' and 'on armor'

This is the last in a series of posts about my recent two week trip to Nicaragua. You'll probably read it first, though, since it's a blog. Each post is accompanied by a few photos, some of which have to do with the post topic, some of which don't. I wrote these over the past couple of days, while being a little sick in bed and playing a lot of Final Fantasy III. Anyway, here they are, and sorry to post so many at once. I knocked a great post by Megan Highfill off the front page; be sure to click on the June Archives so you don't miss it.
Look! Now we're a blog with lots of recent posts!

'on armor':
One night I went to bed worrying about scorpions; Rachael found one on a skirt she was putting on. It turns out that I shouldn’t be so afraid of them; they don’t hurt you any more than a bee sting. But boy, are they scary! Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night to a mouse chewing on some food I had accidentally left in my bag, which was beside me on the bed. He was a bold one, that mouse. I emptied out the bag and chased him away, but it just got me thinking. The whole flow of life in Nicaragua as I experienced it is a little less hectic than in the US, but it also seems more dangerous. There’s less concern for safety in most things; and nobody but the gringos gets to take malaria medicine.
There were a lot of moments on the trip when I was really worried about something or other, and there was often nothing to be done about it. I ended up having to take in on faith. Putting it in God’s hands, to acknowledge that it was out of my hands, and to have some sense of peace about it all.

I think these moments happened to me more in Nicaragua than in my normal scorpion-free, first-world existence because of a choice. I think you can either have the armor of God or the armor of privilege. You can be protected by your race, class, gender, citizenship, or not. Now, obviously, for many folks, this is not a choice. But for the privileged folks, which I say includes most of the readers here, we get to choose. I think that the more I give up/undermine my social and economic privileges, the things which I imagine protect me from pain and injury, the more I am forced to rely on God. I can’t fit the armor of God over my armor of privilege; it’s got to come off first.


Anonymous said...

Hi David! Not sure if you'll remember me - I'm andrea from Valenti's pizza with allan and beth. anyway, you're a great writer! and i love what you're saying about the armor of privilege... it's certainly something i struggle with almost daily here. anyway, keep in touch! and keep writing!

Kathryn said...

I understand what you're saying about trusting in God and not privilege. But do you think the armor of privilege is something we can give up? Being white, American, and middle class has a certain amount of privilege to it that I have to come to terms with. I'm not going to be able to change it. But I suppose it's important to not see it as armor, because that would make me unable to make myself vulnerable to those who differ from me. If shedding armor makes me vulnerable, maybe opening myself up to others is what shedding the armor of privilege is all about.

If I don't see my privilege as armor, how should I see it? Is it a burden? An identity? A fact of life?