wrote this poem back in October, '01, while I was hiding out on the North Shore
of Superior, trying to deal with brokenheartedness connected to 9/11's
life and death. Much of my writing during those days was very serious,
very dark. This was one of the only light pieces, and I've enjoyed
sharing it with friends and family over these years. Now I'll share it around and about the world again. Hope you smile! ==================================================== “Grandma” -- eyes wide, he asked -- “weren’t you a-scared, camping ... in thewoods... in thedark
“Of course not!!” I answered .. and then added,
“well, maybe a little ...
But God was there --
and so wereladybugs.”
“Grandma, were there bears? BIG,Black or Brown, and Furry? Did ya see ‘em?”
“No,” I said, “No bears, no scary stuff at all
[unless you count spiders],
Justsquirrelsandchipmunks, and, ...
Oh, yes ... I saw ladybugs.”
“They flew into my shirt and my pants and my hat – and stayed there -- allred-orange and black on my purpleandblue andmagenta.
And I brushed them away -- Oh, so gently [one never wants to hurt aladybug].”
“Did you have fun on your trip? -- Did you miss us and want us with you?”
“Of course!!” I answered, wondering how a sometimes Grumpy Gramma would do with all the munchkins. “I thought you would like the waterand therocks, and thetrees -- but mostly, you’d LOVE the ladybugs.”
“His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
our world of high-intensity flashlights, of smooth sidewalks, of street
lights casting opaque filters against the darkness, this verse is far
less meaningful to most people than the Psalmist intended.
it always reminds me of Uganda. In late 1994, shortly after moving into the
home where Dave and I lived a few miles outside of Kampala, I wanted to go across the way and see a friend on another hillside about half a mile away from the
compound. And, because they are finally home from work, it was very dark.
I couldn’t go alone and asked our
houseboy/ gardener, Sam,
to take me over there. [Sam had, a couple weeks after we were at the house, become our “son.” He still is, even though he's in Uganda and we're in Omaha. Oh, well.]
A narrow, winding
path led across the way, with palm trees, banana groves and small garden
plots edging it.
I very rarely went outside after dark in Uganda
– my “white” eyes weren’t as adept at seeing in the dark and the
various shapes and shadows were more mysterious than familiar and my
knee-jerk responses kept me constantly on edge – I mean, who could
guarantee a python wasn’t spread across the path?
carried the flashlight, and as we walked single file, from our house and across the road hitting that other path, he shined it on
the ground in front of us. Other than lamplight -- some electrical, some
oil -- filtered from an occasional house, and a few stars, the
flashlight was the only source of light.
I could only vaguely see
the light on the path as Sam led the way. I held onto the back of his
shirt and kept my eyes aimed at my feet. When dogs growled or barked,
when grass or bushes rustled and my imagination immediately “saw”
snakes, because I was on unfamiliar ground, I held on tighter – cutting
and running would have been a useless, and possibly quite dangerous,
exercise in futility. Poor Sam. He could have made much better time
without me holding on, tensing up and dragging him back. In the long
run, I was forced to trust him and his light. BTW, had a nice time visiting my friends at their home, and
then, about an hour later, had to go down the hill on the pathway and Sam was grabbed by me again and again. He hardly knew me then, but was very kind and helpful. [And we said "goodbye" to them at the church as we were leaving in April, '96. Miss them much!] When this Psalm
points out that His Word is the light to a path, the Psalmist’s audience
understood the principle that without an oil lamp the options were a
very slow and mincing step forward – hoping there would not be a cliff
to tumble over or a hole to stumble into -- or forced immobility until a
light came from another source, such as the dawn.
I need to
remember this. I am a socially/politically attentive and
normally intense person, as most folks know. I recognize that, in the
natural, locally, nationally and internationally, it feelsdark; it looks
dark. Without the Lord flooding my heart with hope, I could hardly
hold the "flash"light in my hand. It would be trembling so with anxiety
and fear. But, as I walk in the Light ... the Word of my God ... or
"see" Jesus walking before me on the path with the light, me clinging to
His shirt, confident in HIM, because He knows the path, knows where it
is leading, I can be certain He willnot abandon me on the path and leave me trembling in total darkness.
His Word, the Truth, is so True: “His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
[ We had been back in Omaha since '96, and went back into Uganda for his wedding in September, '99. And then, in '08, he and his wife (our daughter) and their daughter (our granddaughter) visited us here in Omaha. So these are those photos. Grabbed us much from the time Sam entered our life 20 years ago. Love much!]
Two of my favorite spiritual brothers from Nepal who are originally from Bhutan. They are an example. I had gone with them and their wives and a couple kids to the airport, because another two brothers were arriving that night and a Ravi's son and his wife were coming. It was quite a night. They were happy and I was happy to be with them. Anyhow, the spiritual situation is that some of the Bhutanese were Christians in Nepal...even within Chandra and Ravi's family over there... but these two guys were Hinduism and they came to the Lord a few months after they were here. Their brothers and wives and kids and grandkids and cousins and a pile of relatives are my friends and "family". And many Bhutanese are part of my life, day by day.
To use this Word of God, I was trying to find a way to put it in a photo. This grabbed me. They are doing all they can to serve the Lord.
I love so many of the Bhutanese. And the blessing for me is that many of them love Dave and I and appreciate what we've been doing for them.
[I could show piles of photos of them and their family members and so many others, but this is simply connected to the Word. Gotta keep myself in control, doncha think? ]
I have posted more than once about how he was born miraculously... not
just from bodies, but from the encouragement for abortion from my
doctors. I'll put most of that in after this next bit of "miracle"
is 42 today now. I can't forget any of the situations that were piled
on me for the 8 months of my pregnancy to his birth. It was filled with
scariness from the Doctors in the Redwood City, CA., area. Tomorrow
Dave and I are meeting Steve and his son, Dyllon, at our house. Don't
know where we'll go, what we'll do, but being with them counts
And, again, here's the story of how he arrived... =======================================================
MY "ABORTION" MIRACLE
year when January 22nd hits, and the pro-choice and pro-life groups hit
the news, I always want to stand up and holler, "LISTEN TO ME!!!!" The key: My son was born on January 17th, 1973. Last week he turned 39. And it's a miracle he was born. In
the Spring, 1972, I became pregnant for the severaleth time. I had had
at least two miscarriages in the previous two years, and,
while driving home from church that Sunday afternoon, the pain began
again; I was only 6 weeks pregnant. It was the exact feeling and timing
of the other miscarriages. I went to a Doctor immediately on that
Sunday afternoon, and after checking me, he suggested that I not have
this baby, that I let "Nature" bring this to an end. He gave me some
pills to take "whenever I felt that pain." At home, even when in pain, I
didn't take any pills; I'm not a medicine-oriented person. What I
discovered many months later was that the pills would not have relieved
the pain, but would have caused a medical abortion.
during the next several months, other doctors tried to convince me to
let them bring the birth to an end. I was told that this baby would be a
mental and physical vegetable, that I would always have to care for
"it" and would never be free OR that the baby could die very soon and I
would suffer from that death; "Mother Nature" had tried to free it
I refused. Can't say I wasn't frightened about what the results would be.
In fact, I was terrified during the pregnancy, especially when I was
forced to be in bed for about two months that summer and had this fear pouring
through my heart and mind constantly. But, I knew it wasn't what God
would want me to do, so I simply couldn't; sometimes I felt Him hold my
hand and encourage me to stand in that rocky area. The
baby's Dad, my former husband, basically just told me to do what I
needed to do. Except for one spiritual Mom who gave me a Word when she
could, I walked through this alone.
[You must recall or know that in those days talking to a pastor about these physical issues was
not reasonable, going to a counselor wasn't easy (especially since I couldn't afford it), and ultrasound wasn't a
medical part of our lives. Life has most certainly changed now. I also had no family I could talk to.]
baby was due on January 12. On the 16th, I was rushed to Stanford
University for the delivery. Labor had kicked in early that
evening. When the baby was being delivered, about 6:30 AM the 17th,
the nurse asked if I wanted to look in the mirror so I could watch the baby come out. I was obviously more terrified than anyone, including me,
knew it. I screamed, "NO!!!"
And then the baby came. And HE was
not a vegetable. He looked exactly like his sister had who had arrived about 3
years earlier, he was an ounce heavier than she had been, and 1/2 inch longer in length. That was all. Period.
was in the hospital for a few days. Didn't know anything about the Roe v. Wade abortion approval, even though this picture was taken that very day, January 22nd.
In fact, I didn't know anything about that for some
time; life was extremely stressful and my recovery took several months.
Survival was my only focus then.
But to know that
the Lord gave me a son at the same time that law came into being, and
that He had helped me walk through those horrible times with very caring
and concerned doctors, probably some of the most seriously compelled to
do the best for me and the "fetus", still just fills my heart with
appreciation for Him.
Steve and Dyllon, 2 years ago on Steve's 40th B-day
IN MAY, '06, TWO OF MY SPIRITUAL BROTHERS CAME UP TO THE NORTHERN MINNESOTA AREA, STAYING WITH MY BEST FRIEND, SUSAN, AND I, WHO HAD ARRIVED DAYS EARLIER, PLANNING FOR THEM TO COME, TOOK THEM AROUND AND ABOUT UP THERE. WE HAD BEEN SPIRITUALLY INVOLVED IN MANY PORTIONS OF OUR LOCAL STATES WHERE WE LIVED [NEBRASKA, KANSAS, MISSOURI], AND I WANTED TO HAVE THEIR SPIRITUAL DOORS OPEN WIDER, IF POSSIBLE.
MY FRIEND FROM KANSAS CITY, JOHN GROSS, BROUGHT ONE OF THE BOYS FROM HIS CHURCH. A FEW YEARS EARLIER, JOHN HAD BEEN DROPPED INTO MY LIFE IN THE K.C. AREA. MY HUSBAND AND I HAD MET THE BOY'S PARENTS WHEN DOWN THERE AND VISITED THEIR CHURCH. THAT WAS A BLESSING THEN, AND A BLESSING TO HAVE HIM IN MY LIFE AGAIN WHEN HE ARRIVED WITH JOHN.
THE OTHER GUY, GARY NEVE, FROM OMAHA, WHO AT THE PICTURE IS AGAINST THE TREE, HAS BEEN A STRONG SPIRITUAL BROTHER FOR ME FOR ABOUT TEN YEARS.
WE HAVE STUDIED AND DEALT WITH THE DIFFICULTY AND SINFULNESS OF OUR WORLD.
ANYHOW, IT WAS A TREAT TO HAVE THEM COME UP THERE, AND A TREAT TO DRIVE THEM AROUND AND ABOUT IN THAT PORTION OF MINNESOTA. AND THEY SPENT SOME WONDERFUL TIME AT SUSAN'S, WORSHIPING, PRAYING, GLORIFYING AROUND AND ABOUT HER HOUSE AND PROPERTY.
IN MAY, 2005, I WAS TAKING MY BRITISH/UGANDA FRIEND,
JILL, AROUND AND ABOUT OUR NATION
FOR A FEW WEEKS.
WE HAD MET ABOUT 1-1/2 YRS EARLIER WHEN THE LORD HAD SENT ME BACK TO UGANDA TO GO TO THE SOROTI SERIOUS SITUATION. JILL WAS A TREAT THERE BOTH AT NEW HOPE UGANDA WHERE WE MET AND A WONDERFUL ENCOURAGER AND WORKER WHEN WE WERE
IN SOROTI TOGETHER.
AND I WENT TO ENGLAND A FEW MONTHS AFTER I HAD RETURNED HOME, BECAUSE SHE WAS UNDER A SERIOUS SITUATION.
ONE OF OUR NEW HOPE UGANDA GIRLS
HAD DIED OF CANCER AFTER A STRETCH OF TIME AND
JILL HAD BEEN ONE OF HER MAIN HELPERS. SHE NEEDED AN EMOTIONAL REST TIME, SO HER CHURCH HAD HER COME HOME AND STRETCH SOME TIME IN HER
PORTION OF ENGLAND. THE LORD [AND MY HUSBAND] SENT ME THERE. IT WAS A BLESSING TO BE WITH HER AND HER CHURCH FRIENDS DURING THAT THREE WEEKS.
THEN SHE CAME HERE AND I TOOK HER AROUND AND ABOUT THE WESTERN PORTION OF OUR NATION. I LEFT OMAHA, OF COURSE, WENT TO THE DENVER AND VAIL AREA OF COLORADO, THEN TO THE UTAH PORTION. AND THEN TO CALIFORNIA AND NORTH UP TO THE NORTHWEST PORTION SO SHE WOULD MEET
MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS -- AND SEE THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS AND BE ON PACIFIC OCEAN.
IT WAS A TREAT!
WHEN I HAD TAKEN HER TO ARCHES NP IN UTAH, AND WE SPENT A NIGHT IN THE NORMAL TOWN NEARBY. THEN, WALKING UP TO THE DELICATE ARCH PORTION, I WALKED OUT ON THE RIDGE AND SAT LOOKING AT THE ARCH. I WAS TOO SCARED TO WALK DOWN CLOSER AS MANY PEOPLE DO. SHE TOOK THIS PHOTO; SHE LOVES TAKING PHOTOS NO MATTER WHERE SHE IS.
WHEN THINKING OF THE WORD TODAY, AND WONDERING WHAT I SHOULD USE, THE ONE OF ME SITTING ON THE ROCK OF DELICATE ARCH AREA JUMPED INTO ME.