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Monday, November 17, 2008

rest and small things

Rest: I am profoundly in need of it. Scott too. For the last several years we've taken a night away in November, ostensibly for Scott's birthday, to the luxury tented safari camp inexplicably located only two or so hours from our home. It grew out of a friendship with the managers, and has become a lifeline which we could not otherwise afford but desperately need. So readers-who-are-pray-ers can ask that the next 36 hours be a time of focus inward, a freedom from the every-ten-minute demand and crisis of normal life, a refreshment of beauty, quiet, sleep, and soul-connection. And pray that we make it through this day to reach our rest! Today I found 43 inpatients on the 25 bed ward, in other words an insane and exhausting crush of sickness and sadness. Plus two phone calls in the midst of rounds, one from Mulago and one from Mbale, were I have sent patients, whose needs still reach me. Near the end I came to little Mbabazi Kristine, whose mother has remained cheerful throughout more than a month of struggle over her dwindling life. Not so today, today her tears began to flow, and she asked to go home. Heidi had the good idea of introducing her to her across-the aisle neighbor who once looked the same and had the same diagnoses, but is now a solid chunk of a boy. I don't know if she was convinced to persevere, but I begged her to stay. Slogging through all this and trying to think clearly and compassionately in two languages pretty much wears me out, some days more than others, and this was one of them. Add to that concern for team mates and their hearts, treading fine lines that I fail to navigate well that require listening and supporting without fixing and answering, absorbing the angst of four kids entering exam periods, embracing my limited-ness and living in the hands of an all- powerful God . . . well, I'm ready for a break. and hoping that no sudden illness or disaster keeps us from it.

Small things: we had an extended prayer time last night, for the coming Day of the Lord in Bundibugyo, a time of repentance and vision for God's purposes . . . based on the book of Zechariah. In preparation I have been reading and re-reading the book, full of fantastic visions and poetic truths. It was not until prayer time, though, that the phrase jumped out of chapter 4: "For who has despised the day of small things?" This comes right after "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." Rather incongruous, God of the angel armies in His power commending us to notice the small things. So today I offer a brief testimony to a few small things, mostly because in my tiredness I need to remember the fragility of redemption's visible presence in the muck of now. The best: Fransini smiled. Again. This baby was essentially dead last week, a tiny bit of orphan with a dedicated grandmother who was gasping with pneumonia so distressedly that we resurrected a long- disused generator to get power to the old oxygen concentrator . . . and now he's smiling. And we're matchmaking him to his six-month-old wisp of a female counterpart, Malyamu, who dipped down into the realms of death last week too, but has now revived. Both just reached 4 kg milestones (a 25% improvement on their descent to the 3ish range), and both smiled at us, little human eyes looking for interaction in spite of their hungry suffering. 

One more anecdote...this afternoon, I dropped in on a nutrition seminar completely organized and executed by our three extension workers, a small group in the grand scheme of addressing world hunger . . .but 26 community members, men and women, young and old, had gathered to discuss team work and community development, chicken eggs and sustainability.  And best of all, we merely encouraged and observed, it was Lemech’s vision.  

Fransini and Malyamu, the prayers of a team mate, the pink clouds at dawn this morning, my kids who selflessly encourage us to go for this jaunt of a vacation without them, a bite of bread an sip of wine that partake of the reality of Jesus, these small things I do not despise.


Anonymous said...

Two weeks ago, our small group from Knowlton Presb. (NJ) read your note upon the death of little Daniel, and all prayed for you, Daniel's family and the team. Tomorrow, we will read this entry, and pray for rest and recovery for you and Scott.


Larissa said...

Awesome new blog header photo!!!

Cindy Nore said...

Praying that this will be a much needed, well deserved time of rest and restoration for you and Scott. I can never say enough what your blogs mean to me and how your words encourage, motivate, and convict me of the need to concentrate less on myself and more on the Kingdom. Thanks for the reminder and depiction of God being in the "little things." God bless - Cindy