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On Joy, and cold guavas, and writing it down

22 October 2011

I don’t mean to complain, but sometimes the critters and creepy-crawlies of life are enough to drive me to muttering and sputtering things people working with a church really aren’t supposed to say.

There are our usual early morning fly swarms, and the spiders that hunker down under tabletops and chairs, and the scorpions and snakes that show up when you least expect them. But this week, I’ve been captured by the life cycle of the moth. And particularly, all the moths that seem to have moved into our pantry. Because we have a collection of wormlike lava, plus the lovely cobweb covered pupa, and the fluttering final stage of the moth life cycle all making themselves at home in the flour, beans, and cashews of our pantry. Gross. Really, really gross. If you have any suggestions on moth fumigation, please send it my way.

This week, I was reading in I John, where the author says in chapter 1, “We are writing you these things so that our joy may be complete.” I was struck by the idea that as stories faith are shared, as I write these things to you, then my own joy can be complete. Because, upon reflection, the moths are not the whole story. Factored in is the fact that almost our whole team joined hands to help fight the moth infestation. Karen and Larissa and Gaby and Liana and I, all pulling stuff out of the closet and ridding container of larva and pupa cocoons. Christine and Karen bleaching and mopping and scrubbing. Caleb and a whole crew working to put everything back in. Work done, pests fought against, food sorted and saved as we talked and listened to music.

Now the work isn’t finished, because the moths have returned. But still, as I write, I realize my joy in being a part of a group of people who work together on mundane tasks, who serve each other even in gross things like cleaning off moth larva.

In other frustrations of the last weeks, there is joy, if only I look for it, if only I take the time to write it down. My totally awesome parents sent me a Christmas package that somehow got lost in the mail before reaching the group that was supposed to bring it to Mundri this week. I am still grieving the absence of the TJ’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups that were coming, and more than that, missing my family and wishing for even the little connection to them that a box of goodies can be. BUT, a new Kindle from Meghan (to replace the stolen one), plus lots of yarn for Christmas knitting projects, all arrived along with a great group of visitors from the US who are spending the week praying for us and for God’s work here.

Also, for months I have tried to organize a homestay to work help with my understanding of language and culture. And my plans have been thwarted. Several times. But last week, things fell into place, and I spent 3 days at the home of a friend learning to carry water on my head and wash dishes outside and sweep a dirt floor. And I also learned of the struggle and hopes of friends, and the good timing of the One who plans our days, and how relationships can be strengthened through perseverance. After waiting for weeks, I found myself sitting by the fire, eating under the stars and out of a common bowl, laughing with a Moru family, confident that I was where I wanted to be. Hopefully, this is just the beginning, as I’ve been invited to go back in the next couple of weeks for a longer stay. We’ll see if I, and they, can handle more than a couple of days.

Sometimes, writing it down helps me to see. To see the beauty of working together more than the frustration of incessant pests. To see the hope in persevering, and the grace of learning to wait on God’s timing, and the beauty of being welcomed as a family member in a Moru home. To see that when the days are hot, and the bike ride home seems endless, sometimes happiness is a cold guava from our fridge and a moment spent savoring the small gifts each day can offer. In the middle what seems most difficult and what feels most mundane, faith says that joy can be found, if you just take the time to look for it, take the time to write it down.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. heidi permalink
    23 October 2011 12:24 am

    oh my heavens. look at that guava. mouth. watering. ain’t it the little things? love those moth ridding – rat killing – mud covered moments. and the guavas. and you.

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  1. Do I really have to learn to trust every day? | Stops Along the Road

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