Sunday, September 25, 2011
It's 9 pm on Sunday, and I am very happy to be writing this from BED, the end of a long week, with another one starting too soon. For this hour, though, the cares of Monday are still a sleep away, and I am thankful for this cozy room as the wind whistles down the Rift outside. I confess to ending this week in a bit of a funk, physical (minor viral thing) or emotional (RVA nurse Loren Harrison's sudden death from a hemorrhaging aneurysm in his brain while on a six-month USA stay) or spiritual (allowing the demands of life to eat away at rest and reflection). One of the many small beauties to spring from the blood-soaked soil of Loren's death was a long conversation with another teacher who had been widowed in similar circumstances a few years ago. She told me that God had prepared her heart by leading her to focus on the discipline of thankfulness. So that even hearing about her loss and pain years later, the primary message she communicated to me was thankfulness, for her husband, for the way he died, for their life, for God's mercy. It was very inspiring and convicting in the midst of feeling rather down myself to hear this from her. Today at Loren's service one of his friends read the verse in Proverbs "a merry heart doeth good like medicine" (which Kay Meyer cross-stitched for us years ago) and spoke of Loren's cheerful attitude as the medicine he tirelessly gave his patients. So at this moment let me be thankful. Thankful for life here, for cheering at games as the sun sinks glowing over the Rift Valley. Thankful for Julia the sparkling hostess of our 10th grade Caring Community (monthly small group of students to feed and love), as we produced dozens of pizzas and engaged them in a Cranium game, and popped M and M's and chatted and prayed. Thankful for the 30-some kids who showed up for a prayer breakfast Friday morning, sincere and open. Thankful for the RVA community, as they came together for the memorial service, which was just the right paradox of mourning and celebration. Thankful for teachers like Mr. Batterman volunteering to coach, and doing so in a positive way. Thankful for Mr. Crumley and the choir singing this morning. Thankful that Caleb finally got a chance to lead the weekly fellowship group Koinonia on guitar. Thankful that Caleb and Jack made it through another weekend of games without being seriously injured. Thankful for our old neighbors the Riches lingering over Sunday breakfast and talking about kids and life, thankful for the connection of relationship that goes back more than a decade. Thankful, along those lines, for Anna and Jessica who pitched in with our group on Saturday night when I was almost too tired to stand. Thankful for Sarah and Nathan who took a train up from NYC and spent the day with Luke, a taste of "home" as he put it. Thankful that Caleb is another step closer to finishing his USAFA applications (and trying not to think that then we have to start the "regular" admission parade). Thankful that I'm living with my kids, and heard 3 of the 4 sing in choir this morning. Thankful for an evening jog/walk with Acacia, out on the lip of the valley, with scrub and birds and quiet. Thankful that Scott washed the dishes tonight. Thankful that we got Luke on the phone. Thankful for my washing machine that is churning through the second installment of the weekend's accumulated mountain of dirty clothes (I do love that machine). Thankful that a week from tomorrow we'll be collecting my mom at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Thankful for my happy dog, who gains such satisfaction from any little jog. Thankful that God gives HIs children sleep.