instead of having The Cranks, giving thanks for 6 YEARS hanging out with the Savvy Saints in Williamsburg, Virginia (vs. the rest of the exciting globe…) Did i mention that Willsb is a small town? That i am over 40? That even over 40 you are always still a kid – in my case ‘the baby girl’ of 5 siblings? That even after dodging bullets, stones, landmines & disease in international postings, my Mama still tells me to wear my jacket out when it’s cold? That i had a leadership position in a large (very large) NGO in Tanzania? That domestic stuff is not my ‘shtick’ – (except as THE COOK : )
…and now for Part 2’s (somewhat-exciting-ish) conclusion: How to overcome Homebound Cranks with Thanks…
Last month we celebrated 81 miracle-filled years of Papa’s life & this month we’re celebrating SIX YEARS since this relief & development globetrotter came home to help. Altho the ‘helping’ bit was plotted more as a pit-stop before pursuing a PhD in Public Health, the time has zoomed by with no PhD, but more coursework taken in that ever-elusive Masters of LOVE – there’s ALWAYS more to learn!
Part of overcoming ‘Homebound Cranks’ (or ‘wherever-you-are-Cranks’) is knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be (‘taint always easy, figuring that!)
In July we celebrated 10 years my brother, Dwight, has been home helping my parents & Librarianing it in the Book Mines of our regional Library (this the cause of the Upside Down Pineapple Cake blog…) Six years ago July we met up for a holiday in South Africa (thankfully no casts or broken ankles that go round!) We had a Grand Time, but i sensed holding down the fort with the Savvy Saints was beginning To Overwhelm.
Then came a bit of Affirmation (there’s been a few Blazing Signposts in the past, a good thing to look back on when dodging bullets & stones! : ) – this a tad more subtle, with a dash of Holy Hilarity mixed in…
In my St. Teresa of Avila devotional book toted to S. Africa, each day included a Scripture, her writings, a prayer & hymn. The last morning I wrote out the hymn of the day into my journal… then almost fell out of my chair when Papa & Mama called that evening & began by singing that very SAME HYMN (adapted slightly…)
“Softly & tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you & for me; See on the portals He’s waiting & watching, watching for you and for me. Come home, come home, ye who are weary come home; Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling oh GINNY come HOME!!!” (Will L. Thompson, 1880)
After their boisterous singing, Papa asked me to come home: they needed MORE HELP. It took a few months, but i came home from Africa the following November. Since then, WHEW! Overseas I often put in 18 hr days & worked through weekends, but here for some reason i’m always TIRED. Our daily routine starts most mornings at the crack of dawn & goes & goes & goes… (My sister Shere came to help one afternoon & afterward exclaimed, “there wasn’t even time to PEE! : )
It hasn’t been easy & i’m still learning lots, but God is Good (all the time) especially with strategic Grace Dispensings. In Africa I often got down on my knees to pray (& PRAY) for big proposals (malaria, HIV/AIDS, refugees) – all so important (indeed!) But pushing the mop here or dusting my Dad (oops, helping him) it’s JUST AS important to pray because we need God’s help wherever we are. AND (here’s the kicker) – the HOW really matters. How we do what we do: with Joy… by Grace… for Love (not just love for my parents, but Loving GOD 1st or else i’d just be a muddled puddle under The Mop!)
So, every day I DO thank God for the opportunity to be here… and altho i had other job opportunities 2 yrs after coming home, things got REALLY interesting shortly thereafter when my Mama went through six extremely challenging months as she PAINFULLY lost the use of her left arm & hand. MRIs, doctor appts, therapies… & help needed with everything. Running between Papa & Mama, grace (& lots of caffeine) kept Nurse Ginny going. Mama’s pain eventually subsided but she still can’t use her arm; however, she can zoom her wheelchair into high speed & get into all sorts of trouble… (Yesterday I warned her, “Mama, we’re gonna give you a Chill Pill!” Her eyes immediately brightened, “Is it sweet?” : )
Affirmation has also come in surprising places. Last year my friend Gina encouraged me to attend our 10 Year MBA reunion at William & Mary (with deeper pockets, i would have loved Georgetown for grad school – but W&M added AWESOMELY Amazing tools to the Toolkit!) I didn’t want to go (kind of embarrassed to explain how ‘helping my parents’ utilizes all that Leadership training) but my classmates totally floored me. With comments like ‘what a noble thing to do’ & ‘hey VA, your toolkit is the kind that’s always needed’ (i do though sometimes worry about it rusting out) … then one said that both his parents also have health issues, but they have to live in SEPARATE PLACES – ‘so Virginia, helping your parents is keeping them together…’
did i mention the high-volume tickets of the Mush Police ? how my parents still hold hands? how Papa gets separation anxiety if Mama goes out of the room?
So, overcoming Homebound Cranks (& angst) is just like working overseas (or being single or married or fat or thin or in $ or out of $…) – It’s important to pray each day for the grace to be content in ALL SITUATIONS (sound familiar? St. Paul prayed it first!) Affirmed by advice Papa emailed to Kosovo that I mind-trot out often: “the Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.”
Amen. Six Years?? but who’s counting…
grace, peace & AMAZING GRACE
p.s. Some of you may wonder how Virginia can be Catholic when her Papa is an Evangelical Pastor (& her older brother, Dean, pastor of a Willowcreek-ish type church) – What’s up with THAT?
Eons ago my faith-walk led me to a Holy-Spirit filled Gospel Catholic African American church in Washington, D.C. …Singing in the Gospel Choir (the only Red Head) was one of the best experiences of my life as our worship ROCKED the Roof (& other houses close-by…) Taking evening classes at Georgetown & reading & learning & praying (& seeing the Gospel revved up into major ACTION through our Church to the inner-city community around us!) my heart led me to follow Christ into the Catholic Church (this after accepting Jesus in my heart as a 5 yr old & following Him up mountains & through the valleys of life since then..) Last Pentecost marked 20 yrs for me as a Catholic Christian —
Unfortunately, i run into so many folks who are ‘either-or’ Christians, when i see our faith as ‘both-and’ (especially working for ecumenical ministries & worshiping God in every kind of church, hut, hovel where His love IS!) I pray for my parents’ church & am so grateful to God for the ministry there… every week i pray that God will bless my brother & his church… as I pray for the priests & ministry at my church (and folks serving in many denominations all over the world…)
Hey, it’s pretty dark some places out there & all those different Light bulb brands – together – make for Brighter Light! : )