Greetings from the desert!! As the time approaches midnight, the temperatures are still very warm. Young guys are playing football in the streets. I saw some very young kids playing with trucks. The official stadium has lights ablaze as groups are playing as well. The streets are busy with traffic. People are busy during the night as the day time of Ramadan quiets. Clinics have more no-show patients. Surgeries are delayed until later if possible. Fasting during the day is in sharp contrast to night time feasting.
In a few hours we will load our bags and head to Abu Dhabi for a flight to Chicago. I will be able to take a couple weeks to enjoy time with family and friends; Jana will stay longer and get Michael and Abby into school. We are looking forward to arriving, although the 14-hour flight will be long.
This week a friend told me I should be thankful when I stated the air and sun were very hot. She laughed, “But we only reached 112 today, not 120 as earlier.” That statement made me laugh but also shifted my mind toward being thankful. Often we forget to give thanks for good outcomes or weather or rain or friends or whatever. Some we feel are our due. Some we don’t appreciate until they are no longer there or available. When a family member dies, are we always finished talking with them and loving them?
I have heard of people who try to write a list every day about thankful items of all sorts. Daily lists are not really likely to happen in my life, but I thought I would list a few, and maybe others would find a profit doing the same and sharing their list with a friend or spouse.
As I made my list, I realized I should be the most grateful person around. My list as it starts:
- I had two parents who loved me and stayed together, married through life.
- I was raised, in a loving environment, to succeed.
- I married the love of my life.
- I have great brothers (and in-laws too) and a great sister (and sisters-in-law), as well as nieces and nephews, who all like being together.
- I was born in middle-class America.
- I was called to serve and did.
- We have five great kids.
- I have met presidents and ambassadors, as well as street kids.
- I have swum in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
- I have traveled through parts of the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
- I have lived by forests, lakes, and deserts.
- I have succeeded and failed.
- I have both happy memories and sad memories; both experiences taught me lessons.
- I have a brother who survived a terrible cancer.
- I have been able to enjoy nature up close in so many different locations and found beauty in all.
- I had a successful hip surgery, which removed my pain and restored my function.
- I have friends of many cultures, colors, and backgrounds.
- I am thankful my children were able to live as MKs (missionary kids) or Third Culture Kids.
- My time at CURE Kijabe, and all involved, from patients, friends, residents, RVA, the Rift, partners, and neighbors, is still like a dream.
My list could just keep going on and on. I am always amazed at what God can do using me, an old, cracked pot. Life continues to be an adventure as we travel each day in anticipation in His grip.