Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm dressed for the pool when out of nowhere, one of our summer afternoon thunderstorms hits, delaying  my lap session. So I wait, determined to work in my mid-week exercise. I later realize, exercise is not the priority, Jesus is! I finally slip into the water an hour before closing, as a young substitute lifeguard from a distant pool arrives and takes the stand.  Just Qaazi and me... It's clear to me that he wants to tell his story and because I'm the only one in the pool, I'm the obvious audience. I swim a few laps and while resting, he shares details. Qaazi, a bright  Pakistani teen, tells me about his school, his college plans, his secret girlfriend. More laps and rest. He shares about his whole family and BOOM, announces that he's an atheist! And for a second punch, is all for abortion. (But rejects the Big Bang ???) Perhaps, he is testing me for a reaction,  which he does not receive.
I swim a few more laps, praying for an opportunity to share my faith. Qaazi softens. He pours his complicated relationship with his family and religious leaders; He hates the rules, he hates the hypocrisy. There's my opening. So I agree that I too would have to reject his parents'  Allah and the burden of earning my after-life. I speak tenderly about my Jesus who also detested the hypocrisy of Pharisees and who lovingly came from Heaven because following the rules could not get us one inch closer to life with our Creator. Relationship not only message. Qaazi listens without debate. There are no more laps on this day, just love for a young seeker.
Lessons learned:
God ordains our days. An earlier trip to the pool? No conversation!
A new appreciation for immigrant students making sense of two cultures
One must cast off false gods in order to fully embrace the love of the One and Only.
Like my pastor always says, the world has come to our city. We are "foreign" missionaries on our own soil.
I probably will never see Qaazi again on this planet, but I'm praying I'll see him in Paradise. I ask God to reach him whether by ordinary or miraculous. Qaazi is on a journey and I want him to know my wonderful God
Perhaps you will join me in asking.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Credit: Steve Schroeder
      I'm surrounded by growing paper piles this rainy Monday afternoon. New policies need to be compared, supplemental ones concentration wanes. All I can think about is life before cancer, the sweet, easy time when we compared restaurant options and travel destinations...together! 
I took care of my duties and Rob tackled his. Now that I'm responsible for both, I'm deeply grateful for all that he shouldered, especially the business decisions. Rob was a selfless provider who made life better for his family.  I added to our income, but without Rob we would have starved.  Because he fought the Katy Freeway traffic and accumulated frequent flyer miles most every day of his adult life, I was able to enjoy my children's lives without the added exhaustion of another full-time job. It's only now that I realize the length of his list. It was very long and he completed it without a word of complaint. (I can't say the same for myself.) I'm forever thankful for his devotion to his family's needs. Not one child left college with a debt burden, when the economy declined, he worked wherever there was opportunity, and he made sure we would live comfortably if "in the event."  Rob laid down his life for us.  On this rainy day, I'm reminded that his kind of love is rare; I shall not forget.  
Rob, I'm so proud of you!  I love that you are resting from the hard things of life. Thank you for caring so much about us.

Steve's original photo is stunning. My attempt to scan it does not do it justice. Thank you, friend, for this beautiful treasure.