My year of Jubilee

During the first half of last year, the last year of my 40s and a decade which ended yesterday, I found myself wrestling with discontent over an aspect of my life I could not control. This is nothing new to anyone. We all have to deal with important stuff over which we can’t exercise any dominion. For example, making a living at writing books seems like an attainable goal, especially when you’re published, right? How hard can it be to write books, see them get published and then make a living at it?

That’s the part you can’t control, actually – the making a living part. The typical career is one where you put in the work and then you get the paycheck. But writing isn’t the typical career. Sometimes if the author does the math, she finds she is just making a couple bucks an hour. Yikes. That’s a thought to wrestle with. I don’t want to sound like I am pandering for pity.  I know how competitive the publishing world is and I am thrilled to be in print at all. But still. Usually work = livable salary. And when it doesn’t, it can be a little disenchanting.

So that’s when I realized I needed to have some pursuit in my life that mattered to me more than the books, a pursuit I could chase after and actually catch. I knew I needed to go after something that is bigger than me. Something that matters more than me and my personal aspirations. And I knew I wanted my Year of Jubilee to be the turning point for me so that I could always look back and remind myself, ‘this is when I turned the lens away from me.’

And that’s when I thought of the little ones at Oasis Haven in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a place where abandoned orphans, most of whom are HIV-positive and who literally have no one, are rescued from the dumps and streets and placed into forever families. A good friend of mine, Beth Gillig, an American from my home church, is the CEO of Oasis and her sister Laura, also a dear friend, manages the US operations. Both of these young women have answered the global call that goes out to all of us to care for the orphaned of our world. It’s a call that I heard loudly when I stopped dwelling so much on the mortgage, the aging car I can’t replace, the cost of college for my young adult children, the IRAs I barely contribute to and the thought that I will likely be 80 before I can retire. I sure liked the sound of the call to help the orphan better than the call to somehow make my chosen career do what careers are supposed to do: pay for it all.

So yesterday on my fiftieth birthday, the day which began my Year of Jubilee, I launched Jubilee for Joburg, my campaign to raise at least $5,000 (hoping for $50,000!) for the therapy needs of the young ones at Oasis Haven. This is my new, biggest pursuit. I am still writing books of course, and praying that, if God wills, the career will do what careers usually do, but my main mental pursuit will be helping Beth and Laura and the other people at Oasis rescue and restore these little ones. 

Over the next 12 months of my Jubilee I will post stories here and many more on the Jubilee for Joburg blog to let you in on the difference Oasis Haven is making in the lives of these precious children. The stories might make you cry but hopefully they will also make you think. And perhaps act. The call to care for the orphan is not just for people like Beth and Laura. It’s for all of us. The book of James in the New Testament tell us caring for the orphan and the widow is the outworking of true religion. It is the evidence of it. The only one God looks at.

I hope you will add the Jubilee for Joburg blog to your weekly reading, that you tell others about it, that you join me in this quest to do something big in a very small way. We – all of us -have so much. The fact that I have a mortgage to stress about and an aging car is proof of that. 

If you would like to give right away, may I suggest you send your check to the US office of Oasis Haven payable to Oasis Haven US at PO Box 28362, San Diego, CA, 92198, and write ‘Jubilee for Joburg’ in the memo line. If you would like to give monthly, I’d be happy to send you pre-addressed envelopes. Just let me know. If you’d like to give by credit card, you can use the “partnering” link on the Oasis Haven website but for now you will need to click the South Africa link and use the dropdown to give in USD (US dollars). Again, please put Jubilee for Joburg in the memo line.

I’ve gone on too long, I know. Thanks for reading to the end. I treasure you, dear reader. . .
Until Friday,

Author: Susan

This post has 1 Comment

  1. Clair on January 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    A worthy goal. Good for you!

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