To blend or not to blend?

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy”
― Henry Miller

(cloudless Sulpher Butterfly on yellow snapdragons / Julie Cook / 2014




On this lovely Fall afternoon, I was most appreciative of the small gift of a visit from a Cloudless Sulpher butterfly visiting the yellow snapdragons dotting my yard. Here it is mid October, a time when cool breezes and fading sunlight should come calling, yet it still seems as if we are caught in a perpetual season of summer—very warm as the familiar summer residents, who should be long gone by now, are still very much at home.
Hummingbirds, all manor of butterfly, cicadas—all still present and accounted for.

Odd weather indeed.
It’s entirely too warm during both day and night as there is very little color to leaves which are simply falling off, entirely prematurely, before dazzling our sight with the fiery display expected this time of year.

Unseasonal indeed.

Yet as I followed the jittery herky jerky motion of this late season visitor, I was intrigued as to how well my little friend blended right in with the yellow snapdragons. It was almost difficult to distinguish between creature and flower. I suppose it is suitable and most desirable to blend in with Nature when one prefers to dodge predator and foe. . .

And as I pondered the necessity of blending in, I was suddenly struck by the contrast of what it means not to blend in.

Scanning the headlines of today’s news, I was so happy to learn that Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was shot point blank in the head, almost two years ago to this very day, for simply speaking out against the Taliban’s ban on educating girls, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was this time last year that I had written a post about my hopes that she would win the prestigious award. You can catch that post here as well as the follow-up post:

Malala was targeted by the murderous thugs of the Taliban because she chose not to blend in. She chose rather to stand boldly for her belief that education, in particularly the educating of young woman world wide, is a key to ending the vast entrenched thuggery, violence, and fear that suffocates and silences woman and children across this globe. A view counter to the militant forms of Islam running rampant on this planet.

When her school bus was ambushed two years ago by a group of armed men, with a lone gunman entering the bus carrying a loaded Colt 45, all the girls cowered and covered their faces, praying to blend in and hide. . .all except for Malala. The gunman then asked, “who is Malala?” At that point Malala turned to face the gunman as he proceeded to unload 3 rounds point blank at her head. Malala, at the time was 15. Odd that an “organization” such as the Taliban would be so very fearful of a 15 year old girl. . .

Malala could have chosen to blend in as the other girls by lowering her face and covering it with her veil and hands—yet she had made a conscious decision to live her life by not blending in. Despite her youth, I think Malala was well aware of the danger of taking such a bold stance in her corner of the world of intolerance and fear.

I wonder. . .
As a growing secular world, that is joined by the likes of such movements as ISIS, continues to stifle, as well as works tirelessly to silence, and in some cases eradicate, the Christian faith– as Western society continues to brush such a reality aside by writing the worry off as the view of extremist conservative paranoia, do those of us who claim that Faith as our own, have the courage and strength to chose not to blend in. . .have we made the conscious decision, just as a young 15 year old girl made a conscious decision, to stand boldly in the face of fear, persecution and slander and proclaim the Truth?

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5

Post Script regarding Malala

Hope is nature’s veil for hiding truth’s nakedness.
Alfred Nobel
Sweden Alfred-Nobel2

***A bit of a disappointing Post Script
The Committee who awards the various Nobel prizes announced this morning form Oslo that a Chemical Weapons watchdog group, who has overseen the chemical weapons search in Syria, has won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Unfortunately Malala Yousafzai, the young defiant 16 year old Pakistani girl, who was shot in the head last year by the Taliban and left for dead– all for refusing to back down from the hardline edict that girls should not be educated, did not win. She was the youngest contender.

Watchdog groups are important but I always have a hard time when “groups” win such awards verses the individual who has somehow defied the odds, overcome grave adversity, stood up to tremendous obstacles all in the face of grave danger with little to no regard to self in order to be the still small voice for the masses who have no voice. Alone. No group of support. Simply, alone.

I suppose the argument could be that that “Peace” and working towards that as an end to the means, is what the Weapons group is all about—but to me, that is their job, their responsibility. Is there danger involved? Certainly. But Malala is not ordered, asked, contracted, to be the voice for millions of young girls, she did not volunteer for this global platform, but came to it by simply refusing to stay at home and not attend school. It almost cost her her life but she understood the importance of learning and schooling for children world wide, particularly for countless young girls who still find that a deep double standard exists all around this globe.

Malala will still stand her ground against a terroristic group of men who somehow think it’s ok to burn down schools, pour acid on young girls and who even hunt them down as animals shooting them, as they simply attend school, in hopes of silencing “this rebellious act.” She will continue being the advocate for the countless numbers of girls who are mutilated, enslaved, tortured, bought and sold, pimped, who are considered less than all across this globe. She will continue to educate a world that a girl is a person of worth and that an education is the most important gift you can offer to children other than love.

Here is to education, to the hope that knowledge is more powerful than ignorance and that all children, male and female, deserve to be nurtured, loved and educated by the adults who are all entrusted to care for them.

Do you know Malala?

“A successful man (woman) is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” (or her)
David Brinkley


Do you know Malala? Malala Yousafzai?
Malala is the young Pakistani girl who, on her way home form school last October 9, was shot in the head by the Taliban. In the extreme religious views of the Taliban, girls are not allowed to attend school. The various schools for girls, throughout certain areas of Pakistan, have been systematically victimized. The schools burned and acid thrown on the young female students. Actions sadly used as deterrents to learning and knowledge—all intended to eradicate the educating of generations of young girls.

If intimidation does not quell the desire to learn in the young girls of this muslim Taliban stronghold, then violence seems to be the rod of discipline of choice by the Taliban. Malala was returning home, on her school bus, when the bus was stopped by two men. A man boards the bus and asks “who is Malala?” Malala does not turn away as the other girls do attempting to avert eye contact with the gunman–Malala looks his way. At which point, 3 shots are fired directly at her young 15 year old head.


Malala was and continues to be an outspoken opponent of the Taliban and their skewed belief that girls should not be allowed to attend school or have the right to an education. It was her outspokenness and defiance that brought her the attention of the Taliban.

It is her miraculous survival, her recovery and continued perseverance to raise the battle cry for girls world wide that, yes, girls have every right to learn, to attend school, to be taught, to be successful, to attain their dreams and goals just as it is for boys which is what all seems to stir the ire of this malicious terrorist group. It is the raising and the continued carrying of this educational battle flag that keeps Malala on the dangerous radar of the Taliban as they have warned that they will indeed kill her yet.

Odd that a global terrorist organization of often masked thugs should be afraid of a 16 year old girl.

On October 11, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced from Oslo, Norway. The front runner for this year’s most prestigious award is 16 year old Malala Yousafzai.

Malala has taken the bricks of hatred and ignorance that were thrown at her and has in turn laid a firm foundation not only for herself but for all girls world wide–a brave foundation build upon hope and knowledge. On Friday I hope to hear Malala’s name announced as the youngest recipient of an award that has been awarded to such individuals as Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ellie Wiesel, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Desmond Tutu…to name but a handful…

Will you also dare to pick up the bricks of ignorance and build a foundation of hope and knowledge? Here’s to Malala and to all the young girls all over this planet who all have hopes and dreams……