We talked long as we ate black currents from her bushes, my friend and I, soaking up the sun.
She told me of her friend: “She was older when she married, and their marriage is ok, but she’s not happy. She doesn’t like to be with my children, and she never comes to visit us. She wanted to have children, so maybe it hurts too much to be around them. She loves to give gifts, but says she hates to receive them. I don’t know how I can help her. She’s so alone, and has always been. What do I have that can help her? What’s the best way I can show her I love her–make her donuts every week? What do you think I should do? I wish you could talk with her. I wish she could read your book.”
I wanted to weep because I could be that lady except for God’s scandalous grace and my choices.
I said, “I’d love to talk with her–someday when I learn Polish better. But the thing she needs most is to give thanks now. You and I both know that both of us have a wonderful life, but there are still things we cry about. We’ll always have imperfections to deal with no matter where we live or who we’re married to or what dream has come true.
The one thing God asks is that we thank Him. Just this last Saturday, He told me very clearly You must thank me for this season of aloneness, these responsibilities, this experience. It doesn’t mean that I’m always dancing and laughing. I can be honest with God. David often did that. But always the rant must end in trust, rest, and thanks, even if we have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck to say it.”
It’s good for me to hear myself say these things, otherwise sometimes I’d forget them.
Last night a friend and her son dropped in at school just to see if I was ok, or if I was too lonely. I’d have talked longer with her but another friend was coming to my house, who ended up staying til midnight. Life is very good. A long bike ride, eating berries in the sun, watching children play in water, drinking tea, a rich, absorbing book, a non-English-speaking friend who gave me a ride and was most gracious with my stumbling Polish.
My Thanks Journal is still the best discipline in my life. Tonight the list will be long.