Monday, March 26, 2012

Breath goes in, breath comes out.

I am having one of those times in my life where everything that happens or that I see or hear I can clearly see “Ok, God is trying to teach me something from that.”

I am trying to learn that I need to have more patience. I am finding it more difficult as time goes on (I thought it was the opposite?) I wanted to be here and get the medical tests. Now they are done and I want to be home. I want to find my new house and I want to put a garden there. I want to start a Bible study for the girls in my church, and share with them and learn from them. I want a husband and a family. I want to MOVE on with my life... and God keeps saying wait.... wait.... wait. And I keep getting more frustrated. Theres a reason why patience is a VIRTUE and not an inherant personality trait.

I am trying to learn to be kinder. I get to easily frustrated and I have little tolerance. I always thought I was the most tolerant person I know. I am tolerant of black and white and yellow and red.... I am tolerant of looks and characters and interests and cultures. I am not tolerant in other things, which are hard to explain but I know what they are and so does God, and he's making me aware of it.

I am trying to be more conscious of my “respectable” sins. The worry and the anxiety and the frustration.

I am trying to not be so sarcastic and to be gentler and sweeter. (If you know me you are laughing right now. I am too.)

I want to become more thoughtful and to ask people about themselves and their life, and actually care. I am trying to be more conscious of others and their needs and to be less lazy and selfish in terms of how I treat and speak to other people.

Now I am just rambling, I could go on and on. As you know I am in the states and I am TERRIBLY missing the kids and my work back there but I am where God wants me so I am accepting that (I am trying to be more content too.... sigh)

About Kabanana:

Good news and bad news. Bad first, Barbara is not in the program anymore. This was a hard one for me because I invested a lot of time with her and I have a personal relationship that I've developed with her almost on a big sister little sister level. She failed grade 7 a second time. We exhausted what we could do for her in terms of school and she seemed a bit indifferent and then went on to ask us to just bend the rules and pay extra money to get her into the next grade. It's clear she does not want to or can't put the effort in, and so we had to let her go to make room for the scores of kids who are chomping at the bit to get into school and work hard. It's hard to spend a year working with someone every single week thinking you are getting somewhere with them only to find out your efforts have flatlined. I can only hope the love we showed her and the education she got both at school and in church will remain with her. I hope to continue my relationship with her and guide her somehow in her life because God knows she is not getting guidance from her family.

Now the good... no GREAT news is that Nathan made it into UNIVERSITY. He got his acceptance letter a little over a week ago. We are looking into grants and loans from the government to help cover the costs. He was one of the original kids, our first grade 12 graduate, the first of the kids to be baptised and join the church and the first to go to school. He is paving an admirable road for the rest of the kids, and I am so proud of him.

It's times like these I have to say OK, Maybe Barbara was not the success story I had prayed for but I forgot to pray as hard about Nathan and look what God did! He comes from one of the hardest homes and he has defeated so many odds... people sing the praises of their favorite musicians and sports stars that defeat the odds... I sing for joy for Nathan Tembo. Born to a mother with HIV, lost his father, grew up with no electricity, no running water, no couch, no bed, no tv-- rarely any food in the home, a sick brother, a sister who got herself pregnant in highschool.... One day he met Curtis and Fanny, then he met the Williamsons, then he met me. Together we all worked with him, counseled him, encouraged him, assisted him and he put in the effort and used the gifts and intelligence God gave him and now he is gearing up to hop on a bus and go get a higher education which will allow him to get a higher paying job and help his brother with HIV or his sister with a young baby or his mother who's dying and not the least of all be a shining example to 28 kids looking up to him- that's what they can do too. There is hope for all of them, Barbara included.

my stuff:

The procedure I had done was.... well... not great. It was painful and it didn't make me happy by any means but it's over now. The big news is I got my results back and I am CANCER FREE! I am in a high risk range with some abnormalities so I will have the same procedure with the biopsies (sigh) done once a year for 3 years... but the Bible says I only have to worry about today, and today I am cancer free.

A lot of people talk about surviving cancer and how it changes their life and they have new perspective. Well... I am an “almost had cancer might have it in the future someday” survivor. I let that change me just as much. Something about waiting for two months wondering and researching and thinking and planning for the worst, then the best, then the worst, then deciding to stick with the best.... all of that has no choice but to change you and give you perspective. It reminded me that I am futile and fragile when I like to think I am unbreakable and infinite. It made me look for lessons and open my eyes to soak up as much truth and learn from others as much as I could... I hope they don't close back up again because I have learned so much with these bulging eyes of mine.

It reminded me how precious breath is and I hope I dont forget that. Today I take breaths, and I thank God for that. If I am blessed enough to have air in my lungs tomorrow, I thank him for those too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute....

Well, as expected- Satan hasn't given up just yet. I came down with some sort of nasty flu and spent Sunday afternoon in the clinic waiting to be seen by the only doctor on duty. After just over an hour, I was seen. The doc asked what was wrong and I told him I had a sore throat- so bad I could barely swallow without tearing up and I'd been having headaches and fatigue all week. He took out a peice of cardboard about the size and shape of my palm. On it was drawn a picture of a person wearing a scarf. He went on to explain to me that I needed to be wearing a scarf (pointing at the scarf to show me what it was) after 6pm. (It's 80 degrees every day....) He then told me not to drink cold water or the infection would spread to my ears. He came around the table and looked at my throat with a dollar store flashlight- and then told me "You've got a sore throat". He perscribed an antibiotic I've never heard of- losenges I told him i didn't want because i had already bought them, pain killers I asked him not to perscribe because it was ibuprofen and I already have that too- and .... mint mouthwash.

I actually started laughing because I was thinking about the fact that this was possibly the dullest doctor I've ever encountered in my life but I don't think he enjoyed my snickering very much. He told me to find turtlenecks to wear... and I was on my way. I took Monday off but went to Kabanana on Tuesday. Maureen and Fanny took one look at me and said "oh.... oh .... why are you here?" Apparently I looked like a corpse walking.

The throat pain is not so bad now but I am left with a croupy cough and I'm still having the headaches and fatigue- but those might be just stress related.

It's the first of March. By this time, I had planned to have found my new house and moved in. By now I'd be painting walls and decorating and planting my garden. By now I'd be in Kabanana every day working on setting up the new room and tutoring and cooking for the kids. March was the month my boyfriend was supposed to be coming for FOUR WEEKS to help out with the work, visit, and figure out our future plans.

Instead I've been home from work for 3 days this week. I'm still living behind the Williamsons unable to plan for my new place because the future is in limbo. My boyfriend is not coming now- and instead of cooking and cleaning and preparing for his visit, I'm packing my bags and heading in the opposite direction.

This year has been full of trials. I have been told the pendulum of life swings this way sometimes and I just have to wait for it to swing back the other way. If you know me, I don't wait well. Every plan I've made for the year has crashed and burned before my eyes. I'm scared to write anything in my dayplanner now. I pray that the test results I get this month bring news of change. News that will allow me to breath and move forward rather than sit in the same place or even move back.

I pray that no matter what the results are- at least I'll be able to do what i need to do with the knowlege of what's going on. Right now I feel as though everything is in limbo. Everything's uncertain and it's hard to feel secure or fully happy when your mind gets to wondering.

In 7 days I'll be on a plane. This trip is going to change things for me in many ways... maybe every way. I pray God makes it clear what He is trying to say through all of this because right now I feel like that one kid in class who doesn't get it when everyone else seems to know what's going on. Open my eyes, Lord.