When our son was a teenager, he, like most of his homeschooling friends, read the book by the Harris brothers, ‘Do Hard Things’. I never read the book, but from the reviews via our son and YouTube clips, these brothers encouraged their peers to take the road less traveled, to find challenging goals to pursue.
They lived by that example, showing the growth in respect and integrity from those with whom they interacted because they did hard things. They became strong and successful by having purpose, and encouraging others to live lives of usefulness and effectiveness.
I often think, ‘There is not a single female who, on hearing about my experiences, will not commiserate with me saying, “That is hard”‘. Sometimes they say, ‘I could never do that’. And they think that I am a ‘strong’ woman because I am doing an admittedly ‘hard thing’.
I would like to burst that bubble right now. I am doing the hard thing, but I am also very human. At the same time, I am kept by a mighty God on Whose wings I can soar like the eagle, because He is carrying me.
The house sitting with dog allergies just about broke my resolve, reducing me to a sniveling, helpless, pitiable, mess. So when we moved to temporary accommodations, it was just to breathe and determine our next step. After all, we could not move too far away because even though alternative plans were made for the care of the little critter, we had to be close enough for 1 more day of dog-feeding and dog-walking by Tim.
So we found a pit-stop for 2 days.
One of the failings of photos of your prospective accommodations is that you never really know how small /spacious / the room will be until you get there. One occasionally finds all one’s criteria met in one’s chosen location. So in this one, the bed was comfortable and the right size, but the room lacked comfortable space for moving around, much less accomplishing anything I thought would be purposeful. Being emotionally drained, I felt claustrophobic.
By then, I had lost almost 2 weeks of working on my History course (which gives me purpose), apart from feeling like my nose was out of joint.
After the pit-stop, my husband Tim, found a quiet place for me to re-focus for 2 weeks (I love you Honey. Thank You!). I pause to give a ‘shout-out’ to him; and a shout-out to my prayer partner (V) who listened to me crying helplessly from ‘overwhelm’ at the pit-stop, and who prayed with me and helped me to find perspective and peace in the Scriptures; to my girlfriend (S) who brought us hot soup when we moved to our 2-day pit-stop. It warmed our hearts and our souls. And who again met with me the next day at Tim Hortons after my visit to the hairdresser. These little mercies are like ‘washing my dirty, tired, feet in warm, soapy water’.
Our 2-weeks at this current location for refocusing, comes to an end on Friday 15th. March when we move into longer-term accommodations until July. In the meantime, we have traveled to Pittsburgh AGAIN so I could have the dental surgery that was cancelled because of the uncertainty with border guards. At this last crossing (Monday 4th March), they took us in AGAIN instead of the ‘have a nice day’ response.
But, they allowed me to have the surgery and to rest overnight in Pittsburgh before leaving for Canada again. I have to go back on March 20th to remove stitches. Please put that date on your calendar and pray with us for another ‘have a nice day’ experience.
And so, I give thanks – for a bright quiet, allergy-free apartment where I can hear myself think; for the lessons I have been able to teach in spite of the tumult in my life; thankful for realizing how little I could live with ( I am not saying it is ideal or pleasant but it can be done, like we say in Trinidad, ‘if push becomes shove’); thankful for getting a glimpse of contentment – not happiness, but the calm acceptance of that which you cannot change, realizing that it came from the hand of a loving God. There is a whole blog to be written about contentment from my perspective.
And I realize that there are many things we take for granted when we are in our comfortable little homes with all the trappings of excess material goods. So what are the things I have taken for granted?
ROUTINE. It gives stability and security by its predictability. Children are not the only ones to thrive on routine. Adults do. I do. After all, I believe God designed the world with routines like days following nights; weeks following a 7-day routine; the seasons following each other.
In my mind, routine shows God’s faithfulness, so that we can read in Scripture, ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.‘ Lamentations 2: 22,23. I think that is why faithfulness must be the mark of a Christian – doing the hard things, the routine things, the mundane things, the useful things, daily and faithfully.
Another thing I took for granted was HOSPITALITY.
This is difficult for some people. But where I come from, it is a cultural thing to be hospitable. And I thrive on hospitality. It is my cultural identity. But when one is transient (I refer to our current lives as that of glorified hobos), you can’t offer hospitality in someone else’s home.
Another thing I took for granted was ORDER.
This is like having routine. It gives a sense of security because you know where things are. They are not constantly moved around. It is a frustrating experience to realize too late, that the ‘thing’ you thought you had has been left behind somewhere along the way. Or, it is not where you last saw it and need to go on a ‘scavenger hunt’ to find it. It is a major time-waster and source of frustration.
Some other things I have taken for granted are: having an entire fridge instead of one shelf for use, and having many cupboards instead of a couple of shelves to store dry goods.
If you scroll up to the picture again, you will see that there are many hands helping the lady up. Thank you for being on this journey with me. Your prayers and your emails of encouragement are the ‘helping hands’ that encourage me and give me strength for the journey.
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