Reflections on a Tuesday Afternoon - GUEST POST
|Note: Remember that my new blog is: www.beggarlybouquet.com. We have fixed the issues that it previously had and is now search able on google etc, plus you can add it to your Google Reader account if you have one. This will likely be one of the last posts I put on this blog for a while (*sniff*), though I almost don't want to give it up. I think you will enjoy the new one just as much - if not better, though.|
Reflections on a Tuesday Afternoonby Margaret H.
My alarm went off.
I rolled over and saw “5:01am” flashing back at me in bright red numbers.
“Ugh!” I murmured to myself and reached out to switch the button to “off.” I swung my feet over the side of the bed and shivered as they slapped against the cold floor. I looked around; someone coughed and I shivered again.
This wasn’t exactly my idea of a mission trip, getting up at this ungodly hour for a dunking in the Atlantic Ocean. I shuffled sleepy-eyed into the bathroom, not really eager to fish out of the toilet boil either. I stood in the shower, trying to gather the courage to do what had to be done. I stepped under the shower-head for a split second and lost my breath. My teeth chattered and I could feel my face turning purple as I shampooed my hair.
“Okay God, what is it now? Why am I here? I love Ecuador, but something isn’t right this time. What are you trying to tell me?”
“Margaret! Welcome home! How was your trip?”
I honestly dread this question. As a public speaker, I know that’s a terrible thing to say. But I can’t hide the truth. How can I explain a life-changing experience in thirty seconds or less to the casual inquirer? I can’t; it’s just impossible. But I still have to answer that question.
I learned a lot in Ecuador; I’m still learning a lot. Like a cow chewing his cud, I keep going over the trip in mind, retrieving a new gem every time I do.
“I’m sorry miss, but airport guidelines state that all liquids in carry-on luggage must be contained in three ounce bottles; your hair gel is in a five ounce bottle.” She continued looking. “I’m sorry miss, but you can’t take this coca-cola either; no glass is allowed on the plane.” I sighed. “Oh and miss, you must drink this water or you can’t take the water bottle on the plane.” I drank the water. She smiled a bit too smugly and handed me my backpack. I glared back at her and walked over to Jodi.
“So, what did she take?”
You should have seen me. I jerked off my jacket and sun glasses, yanked off my backpack, pulled out my Nalgene water bottle and threw them all on the floor. I sat down, cradled my head in my hands and just sobbed like a little baby. Believe me, people stared and pointed. But I didn’t care. “Just get me home, God, please!” I begged. I was sick; bronchitis was settling in, I was losing my voice, running a high fever, delirious and just exhausted. My body cried “Bed! Water! Sleep! A hug, someone?” but this Delta Agent was telling me I couldn’t have my coke? Something was wrong with this picture; really wrong. I lay down on the chairs and shivered. “I hate fevers!” I grumbled to myself and just closed my eyes with the pinched, painful face that said “kill me now!”
What had happened to me? Just twenty-four hours earlier I had been in tears; but those were different tears. I cried as we drove back to Quito through the Andes Mountains on The Pan American Highway. “God this is where my heart is! Why do I have to leave? Why can’t I stay? God, bring me back, please! I thought this was where you wanted me.”
Have you ever had a God moment? Where He pours His version of tobacco sauce into your heart and you just kneel down and sigh and say “Okay, okay I still believe.”
I learned to be content in Ecuador.
I thrive on the “something more” to life. I’m a socialite and am always looking for a new version of life; something to make my blood race. I’m always looking over someone’s shoulder, thinking “Oh wow, that looks like fun! Why can’t I be there?” In fact, that’s my line. Why?
But you don’t see that question in Ecuador; the people are content. You know, you can’t really begin to fathom their poverty. You really can’t even begin to imagine how they live until you’ve gone and seen it for yourself. They are poor. But they are content. How is that possible? They have nothing. They have no money and they scrap the bottom of the barrel for life. But they’re always smiling. They’re always hospitable. They’re always kind. They just go about their daily business and keep on keeping on when life seems to throw them lemon after lemon. I don’t have that kind of fortitude. I don’t have that kind of contentment; the kind that makes you smile even when life isn’t smiling at you. The kind of contentment that… well, just gives you peace and calms that yearning for more. Sure, the Ecuadorians have struggles of their own. They are not perfect and I’m sure they struggle with the same sinful tendencies that you and I do. But as a culture… they’re much more content and peaceful that America is and perhaps ever will be.
Their hospitality and graciousness left a deep mark on me. Can I be content with the small things in life: a lollipop, a hot wheels car, a new scrunchie or a piece of chalk? Can I keep going when it gets tough? Can I be content in any circumstance? Can I stop wanting more?
and then furthermore... can I let go of myself? I feel like I hang on to so much and so many people... is He enough for me?
“Margaret, this is where I’ve called you to be. This is your place, right here, in Franklin Pennsylvania. Come be the best sister… Come be the best daughter…. Come be the best friend that you could possibly be. Come serve me right and here and now on April 8th. Come live for me. Stop wanting more. I am your all; I’m everything you need. You’re written on the palm of my hand and I love you. Come love me too.”
I felt my spirit fighting. “But! But God I don’t want to do that! You know where I want to be.”
“Margaret, have you forgotten? He who is faithful in the small things… to Him I will give greater things.”
That was my lesson. Contentment.
I fought it that Monday night in Quito. I cried. I fought it the whole trip coming home. I fought it even at home. My spirit was restless. But God got through to me; He is faithful, isn’t He? How was this trip life changing?
A life of discontentment… of searching for “more”…. Turned upside down into a passion for Him and for where He has me. That’s how.
Are you content? Or are you looking for more?
Sure, there other lessons too..
Like surviving on three hours of sleep instead of thirteen… or sleeping on tree slat beds instead of my foot thick mattress… or eating guinea pig instead of KFC’s chicken fingers. You get the idea, don’t you?
Just reflections… from one little girl… about her Daddy… on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s to being content, me and you.
Starting right now.