On the Other Hand (A Study in Perspective)

That’s NOT my new hearing aid squealing.  As I write this, wrapped around my neck inside my scarf lay a wee, 12-hour-old puppy, the only offspring born to our dog, Darling, who was laid to rest today.  I thought I was over my “nursing” days.  Yet here we are, engaged in shift-work, every 2 hours, bottle-feeding this infant orphan.  This was NOT on my list of “to-do-today” …On the other hand…We enjoyed our years with Dyanna’s dear Darling.  Her companion, Happy (a Scottish Terrier mix), remains to rule the roost outdoors, barking her warning or greeting at beck and call, day or night.  Perhaps she will grow accustomed to this pup enough to adopt him.  Meanwhile, our family has opportunity to develop new skills and perhaps some extra character, such as patience, compassion, and whatever else the Lord has to grow us.  Darling’s passing was also a very good excuse for me to cry about all the other things I would have LIKED to cry about but couldn’t.  Is there such a thing as virtual tears?…

A dog fight with a Rotweiler was NOT on my list of “to-do’s” recently, either.  (Is it ever?!) …On the other handCocoa, George and Kristin Hammett’s dog, doesn’t pick a fight, but neither does she run from one!  Drew and she have a special friendship that brings a smile.  We’re thankful Cocoa’s ears remain intact, and she can still walk!

It wasn’t a big deal, but running out of airtime in the middle of a conversation was NOT expected.  …On the other hand…Jerry showed me where to buy and how to install “time” for the cell phone.  If only REAL TIME was so simple to find and keep!

I met for an appointment to see if we can solve the mystery of arms that fall asleep when I do.  In a few weeks we will also re-evaluate when I am to have cataract surgery on the other eye.  Medical issues were NOT on my list.  …On the other handthe Lord once again teaches me to trust Him, reminding me that He is all-sufficient.  I still find it difficult to “take it easy,” but Jerry and the children are a huge help in this area.  This life is so fleeting; but for the believer, the best is yet to come.

It was NOT on our list at the beginning of the month to have visitors.  …But, oh, how sweet it was to meet the Jeremy Johnson family and their guests, and renew acquaintance with two dear Smith girls.  Juli and Dy prepared and served a deliciously lovely brunch, making everyone feel “at-home-away-from-home” amongst “strangers-becoming-friends.”  By the way, even the price of “short-notice” pales in comparison to the joys of  good fellowship.

Attending a funeral and digging a toilet the next week was NOT on Jerry’s list of “things-to-do” in Zimbabwe.  ….On the other hand..the opportunity to preach the saving gospel of Christ to lost and dying people in a hopeless and dying world was imperative.  “Digging right in” as well in other areas, Jeremiah, Drew, and Joel were a big blessing, plus they gained experience AND muscles.

When they returned from Zimbabwe it was NOT on our list of “to-do’s” to make an all-too-soon-it’s-over trip to Bloemfontein the very next week.  …On the other handwhat a joy it was to be with Gary and Stephanie Norberg, even in a very cold city and a frigid house.  We have a better feel (literally!) for their ministry.  Praise the Lord for blankets, heaters, and warm, loving friendship.

Hearing the shattering of our Kombi (van) window was not in Jerry’s schedule, nor was replacing a fender on the bakki (truck) recently.  …How we thank the Lord for providing a very reasonable price on the fender, also enabling us to replace the chipped front windscreen (windshield, for my American friends!) while we were at it. 

An alternate route home from Thohoyandou, two hours NE of us, should have saved time.  Alas, it was NOT on Jerry’s list to spend 5 hours on the road, plus several at the university in that metropolis.  …Yet he was able to meet a man Brother Kuzel had discipled who seems to have a desire to reach other students with the gospel.  We’re trusting that the Lord has an open door to minister there through some weekly Bible studies.

Moving so slowly through the Old Testament in my personal devotions was NOT my intention.  At this rate it will take me 5 years to finish the Bible!  …On the other hand…The Lord prompted me to attempt a schedule of “Read through the New Testament in 30 days.”  What a tremendous challenge it has been to me spiritually! 

It was NOT on my list to have a good friend move to Pretoria this week.  Michelle duRandt has faithfully attended the services in town since the first time she came.  Her daughter, Michaella, is one of Debrianna and Joshua’s closest friends. Yet now Michelle’s work has transferred her 2-3 hours south of us.  Not far, but a world away.  …On the other handit is a blessing to love others, whether it’s family or friends.  The Lord knows what I need as well as what others need.  God must have blessings in store for Michelle in another place, room to grow, other friends to meet.  The moving company was even delayed a day, which means M&M will have most of the weekend to stay with us.  We’ll take it! 

NEITHER was it on my list to “lose” our two daughters this same week as they head for wonderful trips to the States.  I can feel the “missing” already!  …On the other hand I’m truly grateful that Julianna and Dyanna are able to fly “home” to see their siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends. 

It was NOT on my list when school ended to start another school year next week.  Where did the school holiday go, anyway??  …On the other hand…the Lord helped us organize earlier than usual at the end of the year.  With the girls away the schedule will keep us occupied.  It will also give us a head start so time can be adjusted  for visitors the Lord may send and my surgery.

Realizing children grow up too quickly was NEVER on my list, yet our “baby” turned 7 on July 1st, and our oldest son remaining here with us will celebrate his 18th birthday next week.  …On the other hand…”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  (III John 4)  Our hearts praise the Lord for all of our children (both here and overseas) and our beloved grandchildren.

NONE of this was on my list of “to-do-today”… But it was on God’s.

As I’ve heard my friend Barb often say, “It is what it is.”  And how GOOD it is!



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