Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fear and Faith

The past ten days have been some of the longest in my life, longer even than the days of waiting for our oldest son to be born a week late. This waiting has not been so happy. Our oldest son's son has been gravely ill with high fevers for many days. He also refused to drink or eat much of anything.

I have learned again the exhaustion of prayer without ceasing. We finally got to see him this weekend, and I was able to hold him in my arms and not just in my prayers. It was hard to see him so thin and listless, like the little ones I used to rock in the local neonatal intensive care unit. He's always been such a happy baby with a joyous laugh. I've spent these many days beseeching God for healing for him, and for comfort for his parents. I realized, with great reluctance, that all I could do besides pray was to place him in God's good hands and trust that God would care for him, whatever the outcome. Not an easy thing for a grandmother to do.

I was helped by memories of a young woman I met among the evacuees from Hurricane Ike. She came to the arts and crafts room where I volunteered with her small children and created a beautiful piece of artwork out of construction paper. She made an apple tree, complete with bright red apples cut with a hole punch, and below the tree she wrote in Spanish, "Count the blessings God has given you." On a small heart, she wrote, "Jesus will not leave you alone and friendless. Live your faith." In the past ten days I have clung to the wisdom of this faithful young woman in her challenging circumstances as I've attempted to live my own faith in a difficult time.

Thanks be to God, our grandson finally seems to be making some progress towards health. His fever is gone, and he has started eating and drinking again and sleeping. So now I'm praying for his complete recovery. I want to see once again the happy, laughing little boy who brightened our lives. I'm still exhausted, but now with relief. I'm especially grateful to God for accepting my prayers and my fears and my hopes in such a dark time. God is good, even when a grandmother's heart has a hard time feeling that reality.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Glitter Glory

My husband and I spent a number of hours yesterday and today at a Red Cross Shelter for Hurricane Ike evacuees, who came in from the Texas coast. He spent most of his time doing sick call since he's a physician. I spent mine doing arts and crafts with the children, who were bored away from their normal activities. What a blessing it was to spend time with them. I got to practice my Spanish, as many spoke Spanish and some spoke little English. I had to ask some of the kids for help translating the words for such things as markers, scissors, hole punch, stapler, glue and glitter. They were not in my vocabulary.

The shelter is at a Jewish camp north of us. The director and his wife are good friends, so that is how we ended up volunteering there. We were there after Hurricane Rita as well, and I learned then that my rudimentary Spanish was most helpful. I joked with Loui, the camp director, that since Rita I'd learned a little Chinese. He commented that he didn't think I'd need that. Turns out he was wrong. Four-year old Jason, who's from Houston, heard me speaking Spanish yesterday, and told me he spoke Chinese. His eyes were huge when I told him I did too (an exaggeration though I can carry on rudimentary conversation). He giggled whenever I spoke to him in Chinese, and his big sister, Amy, gently corrected my pronunciation. She also gave me a picture of horses she drew, which I will treasure. Before they left after lunch today to go home to Houston, she took a picture of me with her brother, and he took one of me with his sister. I will miss them!

I actually owe Jason credit for the glitter escapade. Anna, the young rabbi and chaplain from Dallas who was at the camp, opened the art supply closet for us. It was a kid's dream. We couldn't allow the kids in, but Jason would stand at the door and make requests. He was the one who saw the glitter and asked for some. It turned out to be the most popular of all the art supplies. The kids had great fun with glue and glitter, which of course ended up everywhere! What's an art room for if you can't make a mess? My husband laughed when I joined him for lunch because I had glitter on my face. I also had some on my shoes and my clothes--bits of sunshine and rainbow glory in a dark and scary time, a reminder of the rainbow promise God gave Noah. God is good all the time. Even, and maybe especially, in the midst of a hurricane evacuation.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Computer blahs

Well, I'm not bored, and I'm not finding it easy to find time to write these days. I'm enjoying the Business Ethics class, but keeping up with the assignments is keeping me busy. I suspect my students would say the same thing. I've also spent more time than I would like so far wrestling with the university's computers. That has happened in the past at the beginning of each semester, but I was lulled into complacency since I was able to log on without problems this semester. Now for some unknown reason the messages I'm trying to send to the class are bouncing back, and I'm frustrated. When the technology works it's a blessing, but when it doesn't it's anything but. Of course I guess that's true with a lot of things in this world. All in all I prefer the simpler blessings, of which my life has a great abundance, a loving family, enjoyable work to do, plenty to eat, a safe place to live, freedom to worship, good health. Focusing on them makes it easier to forget the technological challenges that are part of life these days, at least for many in our culture. Better to focus on God and God's blessings. O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. God is good. All the time. Even when the computers are not.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue