With a heavy heart I trudge home from my errand. With just a couple of weeks left in the Philippines, I am beginning to distance myself a bit emotionally so that the good byes will be less painful. But in the process my attitude is turning sour. I feel a bitterness edging in, robbing me of joy and of grace and of love. So my heart is heavy, and I abhor these negative feelings inside of me.
I plop down at my computer and I reach out for help. I pour a little of this heavy heart out in quick emails to two praying friends. Promptly each one in turn emails me back some grace. One with a beautiful prayer that melts my hardening heart, reminding me of God’s mercy and of His goodness even right here in the middle of the challenges. The other friend lovingly encourages, then challenges me: ”Disarm your ill feelings with gratitude.”
How quickly I forget! Gratitude. Gratitude for every gift that God gives to me today, confident, trusting that this gift is the perfect one for me in this moment. Gratitude that turns sourness to sweetness, bitterness to joy. Thanks, my dear friends, for being uplifting instruments of grace and truth to me today.
A day later, lighter of heart, I leave the house to run another errand. I’m on my way to the hospital to pick up TB testing results, a requirement by the school for involvement next year on our return. Outside of our house the sun blazes hot at midday. Thank You, God, for cheerful sunshine!
Riding up the road in a jeepney, another jeepney passes by. From deep inside I spot someone waving at me! It’s my friend J, and she signals that she’s sent me an email. Thank You, God, for friends on the jeepney route, and for emails from them in my inbox. The wind blows cool through the jeep windows; thank You for this reprieve from the grueling heat of the day. I hop off downtown and walk toward the hospital. People are on the street all around, visiting, repairing vehicles, texting, enjoying a cool drink. Thanks to God for community.
I arrive at the hospital entrance where a smiling guard checks my purse.
I’m grateful, God, that we live in such a secure place.
|inside the hospital|
Within minutes I have the TB test results in hand.
Triple thanksgiving for three healthy children.
As I exit the hospital I make a decision. I’m going to walk home.
The sun is shining, God is good.
On my walk a sociable taxi driver asks, ‘why are you walking?’
I tell him it’s for exercise, though that’s only part of the story;
it’s more because today I want to take time to notice more of God’s goodness.
Thank You, God, for healthy legs to take me home.
In the field I pass a huge grazing cow.
Thank You, God, for Your creative genius.
Across the street I see a squatter’s shack and I give thanks for our house.
Almost home, a group of Filipinos chatting together in the shade yell out a cheerful greeting.
Thank You, God, that I live in such a friendly place!
With a light heart I arrive home from my errand.
I traveled the same route.
At the same time of day.
But oh, what a different view,
and all because of friends who pray,
and the joyful perspective of a thankful heart.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich,
yet for your sakes He became poor,
so that you through His poverty
might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9