I don’t usually pay attention to insipid and generic fortunes—those little slips of paper found inside cookies served by Chinese-American restaurants. But when I read, “You find beauty in the ordinary things of life,” I thought, “How did you know?” For the first time, the cookie got it right.
Here are some of my grace sightings for this last month:
1) The joy of being an intercultural person: Our first church service in Bolivia during our February trip was among a group of older Quakers all speaking Aymara. As the wonderful sounds poured over me, I thought to myself, “How good to be home again!” Three weeks later, this week, in fact, the church service I sat through took place on a totally different planet. We were back in Newberg attending North Valley Friends Church, and as the wonderful English sounds poured over me, I thought to myself, “How good to be home again!” Yes.
2) The incredible hospitality and generosity of the Aymara people: At times it was hard to get our work done because so many old friends wanted to host us for a meal.
3) Abundant tropical fruit, especially mangos: Mangos, along with chocolate, prove the existence of God. A course in Mango Apologetics (MA101) should be offered in all seminaries.
4) The beauty of La Paz and the Andes: I never get tired of it. We had a marvelous view of the city and surrounding mountains from the roof of our hostel, right in the heart of it all.
5) Good books, always a grace-gift: I read several books on the trip, taking advantage of airport layovers and time at night after work. My favorites were My Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, and the Whalesong Trilogy by poet Robert Siegel. (Hal and I are reading this last one aloud.)
6) Barely back in Oregon, our lost suitcase being delivered to our door, only one day late: To this grace, I need to add the fact that we managed NOT to worry about the suitcase in the meantime. Maybe growth is grace really is possible.
7) Grandkids: Our first day home, grandson Reilly played his latest piano composition over the phone. Not bad for an 11 year-old!
8) Other people’s children: I loved watching and listening to Aiden Lowrey play the violin for church, the youngest member of the worship team. I love seeing children develop their talents, and I love being part of a congregation that encourages them.
9) Our silly cat’s almost-humanity: As usual, Chiri ignored us when we first got home, acting aloof and standoffish. He gradually morphed to attention on demand, including sickly yowls and getting right in our faces at 3:00 in the morning. Now, having made us pay for our neglect, he’s settled down and seems content. Little does he know….
10) The last grace sighting I’ll mention has to do with hope, anticipation, and, yes, another trip. We have the grace of knowing our next journey is to Rwanda, this time to be with family. With barely two weeks between trips, I have not put away the suitcases. I’m calculating how lightly we can travel in order to carry as many treats for the grandkids as possible. This kind of packing is fun.
Life is good. God’s grace is abundant. I don’t need a fortune cookie to tell me that.