Your mama warned you there’d be days like these…

You know, days when the sun is shining, when the grass is green and, despite everything (the cold, the desperately ill friends, the complexities of life) you feel full of hope an joy and peace…you weren’t expecting that were you? You thought this post would be about the latest child-vomiting, car breaking down and snake in the toilet blog. Thankfully not!

I am just feeling blessed today- not because my life is perfect (it’s not), not because my friends and family are well (a few of them are the exact opposite), not because I have enough money or time or energy (my house is untidy, there are things to be repaired and bills to be paid). I feel blessed today because, somewhere in Africa there is a woman with three more children than I have and no husband. They live in a shanti town in a shack big enough for two and they have to walk ten minutes to the tap to get water. The woman is trying to stay healthy so that the HIV doesn’t take her  before her youngest is at school (she’ll be lucky) and she is hungry because she gave her portion to her aged mother, who is also living with them and watches all of the children while she walks 5 kilometers to catch a bus to work where she watches her employees’ children throw away the crusts of their sandwiches because they don’t like them. I am not that woman. There is more than enough to be grateful for in that story alone!

Did I ever tell you about the last client I saw at the AIDS Clinic I worked at when I was living in South Africa? She was about 37 years old and had two teenage children and a five year old. She came to me for an HIV test to confirm what she already knew- that she had HIV. She already knew because her newborn had died a month previously of AIDS. She had never slept with anyone but her husband. Her five year old son was in a coma in the hospital because he stumbled into the road on the way to her work one day and was hit by a truck. Even if she beats the odds and makes it past the 5-year limit that most impoverished Africans have as a life-expectancy with HIV, she will never see her boy become a man. My heart broke as I sat with her in the tiny cubicle on the ground floor of a large building in Cape Town. What hope did she have for tomorrow or the next day? I have to admit that I was highly unprofessional—I cried with her. I prayed with her. I believed with her against all odds that some good could come of it all. There was not flash of thunder, no writing on the wall. Just a quiet sense of sisterhood between a tiny black lady and a tall white girl. Did she survive? I don’t know…but she did pop in to say goodbye to me on the very last shift that I ever did at the clinic. She brought her little boy with her. Against all odds, he woke up undamaged from his coma.

I  think there is more than enough to be grateful for in that story too….

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

What are you grateful for today…past or present?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kenny
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 00:47:24

    AMEN! Wow.



  2. Phil
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 15:21:51

    Wow. That was just the thing to read when my beautiful, healthy, exuberant, joyful, glowing children were driving me absolutely nuts! I have inverted my frown. So thankful.



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