To describe many of the days last week in words is to describe an unpleasant picture. Chris Cockerham (aka Mr. Positive) would say, “Jenni has not been at her best.” I was discouraged…unsure how to begin to take in all of the new information concerning “our” Ugandan kiddos–and their current/future status. Trying–but failing to make sense of it all. How does one make sense of something that simply doesn’t?
This side of heaven…human pain and suffering may never fully make sense.
Last week was filled with contemplation…asking God a lot of whys? What is the purpose? Discouraged. Doubting. In the past when I have experienced hardship or times of suffering I have asked similar questions. I spent a lot of time ranting…and I spent a lot of time self-soothing. Soy lattes, Goodberrys, and pedicures were my main “go-to” for self-comfort…but anything coffee, kale or ice-cream seemed to do the trick. (To be clear, I do not like kale ice-cream.) At the end of my questioning, ranting, self-soothing and doubting I always seem to land at the question: TO WHOM SHALL I GO?
What is the option? Stay sad? Angry? Doubtful? Faith-less? For what? Forever? I realized for internal peace I needed to return to a familiar place of relinquishment. Relinquishing my trying to understand. Or answer the unanswerable. Meaning…I don’t get it. I may never. But…I still trust. Period. The end.
When I relinquish…I have found that He takes my tattered heart and soothes it. Through hardship I have found Him a trust-worthy gentleman. Not only with my own heart but others. He cares about their hearts. He takes the hearts of those He loves (more than I am capable of loving) and He cares for them. They are more than sparrows…they are little loved ones HE created. He has them in the palm of His hand. He has you and your heartache too.
Because I am a forgetful one…because in times of pain I do always feel this…I still search for my Starbucks fix and feel sorry for myself. Wishing comfort over conflict. I always do this.
Then it happened. We took our friends away for the day to our special swimming spot. On the drive we spotted this guy…
Do you see him? Camouflaged in the trees? Yep. Mr. Giraffe. Hadn’t seen one for an entire year in Uganda until 2 weeks ago and now this one about 15 miles from our home!
It gets better…while waiting for lunch our kids were sitting on the deck looking at lizards when all of the sudden they started screaming: “ELEPHANTS!”
Below our deck from lunch…where we have walked and played many times, lumbered these two lovely ladies…
Apparently they were hungry too, so they took a snack break right in front of the pool deck. We were able to hang out and watch them munch on trees…
It was warm and so they took a dirt bath to cool off.
For the rest of the day we admired one another.
(More me than them.)
So in the world of cynicism it was coincidence. But I knew better. I have been Romanced before and this was a direct act of Love upon my heart. Unmistakeable. Upon further reflection…maybe the coffee and the ice-cream weren’t so much a personal comfort but a gift. A little reprieve from the pain–existing long enough for me to know that life is not ALL bad. People are not ALL bad. The world is not ALL bad. There are little pieces of wonderful mixed in with the ache of it all. There is beauty mixed with pain. Loneliness, grief, and suffering can almost suffocate a person. But we ARE given tiny glimpses of Goodness. We are reminded…we are not alone. The ones we love are not alone. And the One who cares about the sparrow, or the giraffe or the elephant certainly cares far more intimately about our lives.
If that was not enough…
I arrived home and was greeted by two sweet girls who delivered these:
Letters from girls at RG. Letters delivered at just the right moment on the exact day I needed them most. They outlined the things they were grateful for in our friendship. Little things that our family had done to express love. So little! (Little enough you wouldn’t have written a thank you.) One said, “Thanks for letting me walk Caspian.” Another, “Thanks for letting me help with your dishes.” That is more embarrassing that note-worthy. They represented something more…something spiritual. The timing–no coincidence, but Created for my encouragement…a reminder that I am not alone. The ones I love are not alone. We have One who sees and cares.
I remember reading one time that, “God did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with His presence.” (Paul Claudel)
We are not forgotten. We are in Good hands.
I have to believe this…I just have to.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,