Wednesday, November 23, 2011

too sweet for words

From looking at my blog page, you would think making an Advent Calendar is a 24/7 activity!
I do have other things happening in my life…
Yesterday, my house helper called to say she was busy tomorrow morning and could she come that afternoon instead?  I said ok, inwardly cringing at the thought of giving up my precious afternoon quiet time to supervise housework… and then I realize that if I’m going to see a friend who’s been on my heart for weeks, that would be the time.  I was planning to go the day before, but Will came down with a bad cold.  I couldn’t take him out in the cold and wet, and my house helper is my only source of childcare at the moment.
When my helper arrived, Ben had just woken up and Will was still sleeping.  I put Sesame Street on for Ben, threw some snacks on the counter for when Will woke up, donned raincoat and boots and headed out into the rainy, gray afternoon.  I was carrying a bag of hand-me-down clothes in one hand and my umbrella in the other, slogging through slimy, muddy puddles, even more determined to make this visit after calling my friend and learning that her baby was sick.  It wasn’t until half-way there that I realized God was giving me my 20-minute daily walk that I had slept through this morning!  Full of thanks, I thought back over the story of this baby…
Ada is a miracle baby.  My friend had been pregnant twice before, and lost both babies to late-term miscarriages.  The second time, her waters broke at 8 months but her body didn’t go into labor, and because they didn’t have enough money to go into the big city for a vacuum extraction, her baby died in her womb.  She said she almost went mad with grief.
They adopted a beautiful little boy a few weeks after he was born, and he’s now just a little younger than William.  Last summer, she got clearance from her doctor to start trying again.  In August, she told me she was pregnant.  We cried together.  I laid my hands on her stomach and prayed protection over the precious little life.  
Ada was breach during her whole ninth month.  On my birthday, May 3, I went over to my friend’s house to take her a miniature rose plant, and asked her how she was doing.  She looked worried.  She was a week from her due date, and Ada was still breach.  I asked if I could pray.  I laid my hands on her tummy, felt the baby kick, and asked Jesus to turn the baby around and deliver it normally.
Two nights later, my friend’s waters broke, and she went to the hospital, waiting an agonizing 4 hours before her contractions started… the worst kind of dejavu.  But by noon the next day, little Ada was born, healthy and naturally.  Headfirst.
When I called my friend’s mother the next day to arrange a hospital visit, she immediately thanked me for praying and gave glory to God for turning Ada around.  She still calls me her American daughter.
This is the baby I was going to see, now six months old… I walk past the soccer field, soggy in the rain, two more turns on slippery streets, past the green gate painted with Snow White, into my friend’s driveway.
And then she’s kissing me with warm cheeks, bringing me inside, taking my umbrella and my coat, and I’m relishing speaking this language, being welcomed into her warm house, into her warm heart.
And here is her sweet baby, suffering from a winter virus, beautiful eyes a bit glassy with fever, runny nose, sore throat, a bit rashy… I translate the directions on the bottle of infant Tylenol I brought, and we give her a small dose.  Ten minutes later, her fever has dropped and she’s nursing peacefully.  We stroke her soft cheeks, and call her God’s gift to us.  I pray, laying my hands on her fuzzy black hair and asking God for peace and healing, and for her mother too.  I pray the most naturally and easily in this language when I’m with this particular friend.  I sense she is very close to the kingdom of God.
I pull out the clothes I brought and hold them up to her three-year-old son.  He likes the red Nike sweatshirt.  I hand him a red race-car that Will and Ben wanted him to have, and he starts driving it, making vrooming noises (the same in any language).
A horn beeps outside: James, on his way home from work, coming to pick me up so I don’t have to walk home in the rain.  More warm-cheeked kisses with my friend, she bundles me up in my coat and hat, and says “Wait!  I haven’t given you anything!  You’re leaving dry-handed!  That won’t do” and dashes into the back of her house, returning with a huge green and gold pumpkin which she presses into my hands.  I laugh, thank her, run through the rain to the warm car.
James and I drive home, just the two of us, relishing the unexpected gift of a few minutes together without kids.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  I’ve been to see my sweet friend, I’ve checked on her precious baby, I’ve unburdened  my heart, I’ve been Jesus’ hands and feet.  

More than that, I’ve spent time with someone I love, who loves me.  

And the pleasure of real friendship in this place, in this language, is too sweet for words.


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