Wednesday, November 26, 2014

With Gratitude

With gratitude, I live this life in Rwanda, surrounded by beautiful faces, interesting trees, strange birds, searching hearts.
With gratitude, and a side of grumpiness, I open my eyes too early in the morning to inspect a child's coloring or to give permission to get a banana.
With gratitude, I scan my Facebook feed, seeing the faces of friends near and far - both of which feel like a miracle to me.
With gratitude, I review my kids' progress reports, noting their achievements and gains.
With gratitude, I think of their teachers - present and past - who have with love and patience inspired these.
With gratitude, I miss my family and football games that I don't watch and strawberry pretzel "salad."
With gratitude, I hug my husband who has made us dinner reservations tonight. With gratitude, I don't plan or shop or save or cook this year's feast.
With gratitude, I brush my hair, which has grown back from the assault it suffered to chemicals and high-energy waves.
With gratitude, I let Annie go to bed without making her change into her pajamas, because who cares.
With gratitude, I take hot showers, flush toilets, and drink water that doesn't make me ill.
With gratitude, I remember doctors, nurses, sonographers, therapists and mri techs.
With gratitude, I order Christmas presents for my kids and make plans for their 7,104-mile journey.
With gratitude, I pack for a Thanksgiving getaway with dear friends.
With gratitude, I reflect on the power Jesus has to soften hard things, to add flesh to dry bones, to offer healing and forgiveness.
With gratitude, I think of 20 students who I (I!) have had the privilege to teach for a short time.
With gratitude, I celebrate a friend's birthday in person and a brother's birthday from afar.
With gratitude, I host friends who traveled 24 hours on a bus from Kenya just to hang out with us this week.
With gratitude, after my worst nightmare comes true and I bump another car with my massive beast on a rain-slicked dirt road, I drive away after she tells me it's ok.
With gratitude, I try out the few Kinyarwanda words and phrases I know and breathe grace since we quit our lessons.
With gratitude, I hang out with missionary friends who have long and faithfully been here, gleaning from them all I can about culture, gracious living, and joy.
With gratitude, I type words into a thing called the internet and know someone will read them.
With gratitude, I think of the hundreds of people who give out of their abundance or out of their own need to fund our ministry.
With gratitude, I continue to repeat Ephesians out loud until I know it. Thanksgiving was my goal, but I still have two chapters to go.
With gratitude, I remember you in my prayers.
With gratitude, I grieve with my passport country, which is the home of grieving people this week.
With gratitude, I think of every person I know who has been affected by racism and prejudice, but has shared their life and story with me, so I (someone who has known privilege) can learn and change and understand.
With gratitude, I think of one of our best friends who is a white American law officer, who is brave and loyal and honest, who, just by knowing him, keeps me from being quick to assign blame.
With gratitude, I am eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:3)


  1. Rwanda sure does look like a beautiful place. Much like the rest of Africa. Thank you for showing us this beautiful side of the continent. It is often ignored in news and media.