Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday #2: A Grateful, Still Recovering, Heart at Home

Although I am still recovering from that German germ that came home with me from Garmisch and not the best things have happened this week, there is still much for which to be grateful. For example:
• Not only have I blogged this week about robberies, but two people I care about have experienced car break-ins -- in two hemispheres at almost exactly the same time. Go figure! Padre Julio Skyped me from Colombia with the information that his car had just been broken into for the second time in three months; his laptop and a computer that belongs to his school was taken as well. Then, just a little while later, I heard that the car window of my son Shane here in California had been smashed and his i-pod stolen, but $40 in cash that had been stashed away was ignored. (I think both should stop keeping electronics in their car, and I am now going to start taking our tom-tom into the house when we get home even though I live in a small and, I think, trustworthy community. I am thankful, though, that neither person was hurt, and, the robbery was to their car and not to their house. Electronics can be replaced. Of course, I am grateful for all the folks who said that they would pray for Padre Julio. Shane is having a bit of a bad year, too, but since it is darkest before the dawn, I think he will have a very rosy 2010. (Oh, yes, I have an incurable case of optimism.)

• Speaking of incurable cases, I was very, very grateful that the German medicine that I bought as I was leaving Germany worked like magic at the end of last week (before I ran out and crashed into 38 hours of nearly non-stop sleeping over the weekend), allowing me to attend the semi-formal dinner that the head of my organization threw for a very high ranking (national name recognition, but I won't name-drop here) government official held with our six senior managers. I happened to be the manager who ended up sitting across from him and had a very enjoyable dinner conversation, which I would not have been able to manage without that medicine. At the end of the evening, as everyone was shaking hands good-bye, he startled me a bit by hugging me instead of shaking my hand. (No, I was not the only woman there, but I was the only person -- male or female -- that he hugged. Dunno why.) I just said a quick prayer, "Lord, the nation needs him; please don't let me infect him." It has been almost a week, and I have not heard of any dire consequences from his brief meeting with me. Whew! Thank you, Lord!

• Earlier this week, my daughter Lizzie found Princesse, one of her two cats, flattened on the floor where a bed had fallen on her. (she and her husband are moving into a new place.) She was devastated. When she was a freshman in college, Lizzie had acquired Princesse from the US Embassy in Tunis (hence, the French name, as well as a sheaf of vet papers in French that the San Diego vet, who just happened to know French, got a kick out of reading). Princesse was slated to be turned out into the street by the new ambassador at that time, and the former deputy chief of mission, who had returned to the USA where I met her, took upon herself the task of finding homes for all the cats she had befriended while assigned to Tunis. I offered to take Princesse, but when our landlord said, "no cats," Princesse ended up in San Diego with Lizzie, Noelle, and Blaine. Lizzie had Princesse all through college and graduate school to her PhD completion, a real blessing as a source of calm during a long period of stress. Then Princesse accompanied Lizzie to New York, where Lizzie spent two years as a visiting professor at a university in New York. Now, Lizzie, Blaine, Princesse, and second cat Woody, were settling into a new home as Lizzie began a new job as a tenure-track professor at a university in South Carolina. That's when the bed fell. Lizzie and Blaine rushed Princesse to an emergency care facility in nearby Georgia, where the cat had surgery for a fractured jaw. She seems to have some brain damage -- or so Lizzie, whose specialty is brain pathology, thinks, but she is making progress. Three days ago, she began drinking water (still needs a food tube). Two days ago, she started using the litter pan by herself. Yesterday, she started wandering around the room and finding the litter pan by herself through sniffing. Today, Lizzie wrote, "She looked at me! She looked at me! And she knew me!" Yes, one must be grateful for small things, and when trauma happens, we are reminded of how important the small things are. We are praying for brave little Princesse, and we are grateful for every little bit of progress. It is exciting watching her recover, and we are grateful that she is not in pain and not on pain medication.

• I am grateful, oh, very much so, more than words can convey, that this week -- Yippee!! Praise the Lord! -- I found (i.e. re-established contact with) a work-study college student in Jordan who calls me "Mom." An Iraqi with no local family, she needed someone to talk to every time the bombs fell on the university where her father worked or EIDs exploded along Airport Road where her family lived. Typically, she would not be able to reach them when these things happened, and she would come to my office and say, "Mom, may I come in and cry for a while?" I would shut the door, and she would have some peace. Some times she wanted to talk; other times she just wanted company while she sat in silence; yet other times she really did want to cry and to be held. I kept a prayer rug for her in my office so that during prayer hours (she is Sunni) she would have a private place to pray. I met her real mother once when she came to Jordan for some medical care. She seemed to approve of me and told me how happy and relieved she was that her daughter had someone in loco parentis in Amman. I lost contact with my "daughter" about a year after I left Jordan, and when I returned last July, my efforts at tracking her down were futile. I was concerned, but I knww that God has always watched out for her. I am a very poor second to Him when it comes to ensuring her safety, health, and happiness. Nonetheless, I was delighted this week when I found her, through a mutual friend, on Facebook! We are now back in touch! Life is sweet!

For what are you thankful this wonderful Thursday?

More information about the Thankful Thursday meme can be found at the website of Grace Alone.

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