Wednesday, April 23, 2008

one day at a time.

saturday morning i found myself by the river once again. washing a few clothes. not plenty. just enough to get by. before the sun got too hot. enjoying the peace of the river. but my mind also wandering to things to come. considering my next placement. and the discernment process that's starting. reflecting on challenges. and passions. and calling. and such things.

then comes glenda. my neighbor who has moved to the next village. but still returns on occasion for things like washing. and church. and i have missed her being right across the street. so the moments to just rinse clothes alongside her were precious.

in harmony with the music of the river, glenda started singing an old hymn. that kind of sincere singing. coming from deep inside.

one day at a time.
sweet Jesus.
that's all i'm asking from you.
just give me the strength.
to do everyday. what i've got to do.
yesterday's gone.
sweet Jesus.
and tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord, help me each day.
show me the way.
one day at a time.

and although i didn't know the verses, i had heard this chours before. and i was able to sing with glenda. there in the river. and the words were a comfort. amidst this anticipation of future journeys. one day at a time. that's all we're given. that's how we're called to live. embracing the moments we have. for tomorrow has enough worries of its own. and glenda's wisdom amazed me. as she shared right what i needed to hear. without even realizing it.

the rest of the day was baking banana bread. and visiting glenda by her new home. and practicing steel pan. and i was thankful for that day.

the following morning was church. encouragement not to let our hearts be troubled. but to simply trust. and focus on the things that are eternal. spent the rest of the morning and afternoon at ednora's, with a few methodist women in their sixties and seventies, as we cooked a potluck sunday breakfast and lunch together. and chatted. and laughed. and looked at pictures. and rested. and fellowshiped. and i was thankful for this time. for women that love me. and take care of me. and give me glimpses into their lives. and i went home in time to take my laundry down from the clothes line. and dance and pray in the sea at sunset.

i'm realizing that i'm about halfway through my stay here. about eight months have passed. about eight more to go, praise God. and i don't know if i've embraced each moment as i should have. and i don't know if i've loved enough. contributed enough. been patient enough. but i pray that whatever time is remaining will be spent in ways that are good. that honor God. that honor people. that i can trust in where i am. in where i will be. and simply live. and live simply. one day at a time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

a shady spot by the river.

abby. you going by de sea?
oh. no. i'm going to go sit by the river. find a nice shady spot and read.
what? abby's a madwoman. likes to sit by the river. likes to watch the sunset.
yeah. i guess i am mad.
abby, go on. go sit by your river.

a quiet saturday afternoon inspired me to venture up the river a ways. to read. and journal. and reflect. despite the fact that my neighbors think i'm crazy. i mean, i guess i am. but that's another story.

and as usual by the river, there were moments of solitude. the harmonious music of the water and the birds the only sounds. and there were moments of community. folks coming by the river to wash. to bathe. visiting the river for practical reasons. unlike me.

the time was healing for me. able to get out words and thoughts about my own restlessness. my own wandering. my own wondering. on the next to last page of the leafy journal amanda gave me.

i was also able to take in words. to listen to words much more profound than mine. words of rachel corrie in her journal entries. and all of her writing is tragically beautiful. but my pen found itself making note of a couple of quotes:

"i've always crushed the flowers while staring at migratory birds. now i am learning to notice the smell of the trees." p. 69

"thinking it over, i realized that the most powerful actions i can take towards societal improvement will have to start very close to home, arising not from the need to leave a mark on history, but from empathy and sincere understanding of the places in my life where neglect exists." p. 78

one day i will migrate. one day i will fly away. and i wonder where the wind will blow me. but until then, i am planted here. until then, this is home. may i embrace the trees. the flowers. the things rooted here. instead of being so distracted by the birds. may i accept that i cannot solve everything. but may i find the inspiration. the gifts. the opportunities. to contribute however i can. to love. to give. to honor. open my eyes. my soul. to those places where neglect exists. right where i am. amidst the river. amidst the sunset. amidst the people.