Monday, June 18, 2012

So Thankful!!!

(This is my response to a facebook message my father sent me)
Dad, I know I have been given a gift, I tell myself that everyday. Everyday is a gift!
I'm thankful for:
The blessed day that I left and June arrived 

The day that I met Rabea at Luther hall and thought (Praise the Lord! It's a girl!)
My job at White Stuff and each and every girl (and boy) I worked with!!!
For every time I started chewing out Chris and realized "My goodness, I sound just like my mother"
For all that I have learned
Every day I realize "holy geez I'm in England"
Every trip I made to Germany where I insessently said "I really like it here!"
For Lidija and Boris and there Presence in Luther Hall and they way Boris would loudly say upon entering the kitchen "Awww... such Beautiful People!" and the way Lidija would quietly encourage me
I am thankful for Deaconess Rachel and her willingness to take time for me midst a crazy busy life as mother wife and worker
I'm thankful for Jean and his family and the reminder through him that sometimes we are blessed and sometimes we are blessed to share
For every visit I was able to make at the hospital that shaped and formed my perspective on life 
I'm thankful for every run that I am able to do in light of the visits I made at Addenbrookes
I'm really thankful for a trip to Deal that made me realize how much I love walking, and hiking
I'm thankful for the night I had my first interview for the D.R. and knew that this was what my future was going to be, and then went out to celebrate with Rabea until 2a.m. and got up early the next morning to travel to York
I'm thankful for my trip with Peter and Jeremy to Ireland 
I'm thankful for my trip to Germany with Mag, and later with Erik; which was always more than worth all the stress of getting there (hindrances include: questionable Mexican passport administered in Chicago and missed planes)
I'm thankful for every Finn joke from a certain Finn I know
I'm thankful for every nugget of knowledge given by my tutors and from Preceptor 
I'm thankful for all the girls that came through Luther Hall reminding me of how to be a lady midst the men (Blythe, Allison, Rabea, Fiona) 
I am thankful for all the allowance of personal indulgences (Justin)
I'm thankful for all the boyz that came through who appreciated me for my loving, nurturing personality, and oh yes my baking (Simeon, Israel and Mark- also my love of kittens!)
I'm thankful for the opportunity to have had so many people visit me while I was here (Deaconess Lumley, Stacey and Dan, Mom and Dad, I guess Jeremy and Peter too)
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have met professor Rosin and to learn from him
I'm thankful for Dan G's gentle willingness to do things without complaining, and his eagerness to contribute towards social events
I'm thankful for the wonderful warm smile and greeting I received every morning, afternoon, and evening from Jonathan!!!
I'm thankful for my African friends who put life in perspective and remind me of how wasteful I can be
I'm thankful for all the skype meetings I had with my friends, (Katelyn, Nicole, Nathan & Anna & ?, Stacey and co. and the rest of my Family, John, Julia, Frankie, Lucius and June Rose) 
I'm thankful for every post card and gift (Max and George, The Shaw family, Brian and Melissa, Kristi (a.k.a. The Keller's) Grandpa and Grandma, Rachel, Dianna, all of First Lutheran Church!)
I am so thankful I was able to go up Ben Nevis and feel like an outdoors extremist
I am thankful for every Greek lesson I had that felt like it was going nowhere
I am thankful for my Writings in Luther class that was so frustrating and still is as I try to write my last paper 
I am thankful for every event this past year that has been refiners fire for me
I am thankful for every beautiful flower that reminds me that I am not in Nebraska and every country song that reminds me of Nebraska 
I am thankful for every e-mail that comes in and reminds me how there are so many from Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana (Specifically St.John's Bingen) who are supporting me
I am thankful for every Facebook post that reminds me of the wonderful friends and family I have
I am thankful for EVERYBODY who has committed to supporting me for the next two years in the DR
Just in case there was anybody I forgot: I'm thankful for YOU (This one was added not for my dad but you all who are reading this!)
I am thankful for so much! Most of all I am thankful that God has made me thankful! I am thankful that I can look back and be thankful, and also look forward and be thankful. I couldn't do that four years ago. I am so happy to be coming home knowing that my time here has been a gift, and my time to come will be a gift until I reap the ultimate gift! So... YES DAD! Happy Father's day, and thank you for reminding me to be thankful not just for you (my father) but for everything my heavenly Father has given me this past year, and will give me in the years to come!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A great Collision 30 hours of movement:

10 hours to get to Corpach Scotland
10 hours to hike up the tallest Mountain in all of England (Ben Nevis)
10 hours to get home to Cambridge England

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was this past weekend offering students a four day weekend. For me there was a great collision of events beginning with a hospital visit on Friday where I had a conversation with an elderly man. He shared his life story with me which ended in tears. His wife had passed away less than a month ago and he expressed to me that he didn’t see a point in continuing with life. He said “Life will be fine, but it just isn’t going to be as good as it once was with her.” He later expressed a desire to die. 

Ironically, I was assigned to write a paper for an ethics course on euthanasia, not the lightest of topics. In the collision of events beginning with this encounter I have had several epiphanies, and a jubilee of my own (of the jewish sort). A few months ago my parents as a generous birthday gift purchased a rail pass. I spent a month trying to decide how I was going to use this gift. After some research I decided I was going to go to Corpach/Fort William and climb the tallest mountain in all of England; Ben Nevis. 
In this journey I had ten hours of travel time that I used to work on the earlier mentioned paper. So what do we really think of euthanasia? I must admit before meeting the man I mentioned earlier I would say I was adamantly against euthanasia. My empathy however took over as I visited with him and I thought; “I wish I could stop his pain.” Not that I wished him death, but only that I wished for what he wished for and in that moment it was death. Upon reflecting and thinking on my paper I wrestled with the idea of “Is it okay to exit this life when the pain is so great and the burden so heavy and the promise of eternal life is so much more appealing in the midst of pain?” 

My conclusion:

Ten hours up the side of Ben Nevis. My legs were shaking, my feet hurt, my hips were sore, my stomach hurt and I was nauseas all day from the intense physical activity. My climb only consisted of 10 more minutes to get to the summit and each glance upward felt no closer to the summit than the one before. There were combating dialogs going on in my head: “I’m never going to make it” “One rock at a time, just keep moving” “I was crazy to think I could do this” “Your committed now, you can’t turn back. You Can Do this!” “I’m going to die, I just know it” “One foot in front of the other, you are the one in control! Don’t just tell your body what to do, make it do it!” 
When I made it to the summit, it was not at all what I thought it would be. It was almost surreal, as if the summit was real but the idea was driving me more than the reality of it was. The summit itself held nothing for me, the journey did. The journey made the summit a place of victory (I am reminded of what my father often says; “It isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey”).
I reached that summit with my legs shaking, and stomach all tied up and my lungs hurting. There wasn’t any sort of fanfare for me and yet, from that moment of being on top, there was no other place to look except where I had been. I had taken the climb and enjoyed various perspectives of the Mountain that others wouldn’t have seen climbing up the path. Looking back, it wasn’t about the summit at all, it was the climb. 
I’m not saying that life means more than the eternal life that God offers us through his Son. Rather I am saying that in those moments of trial, in those moments when we want to give up; don’t! Even when it seems like the future holds no point or meaning, press on! God never fails, his promises are new every morning! His faithfulness endures forever. Know that God is present in pain. Know that while it may seem as though there is no purpose in the pain, it doesn’t matter because there is a summit, it is there even if you can’t see it. If you need a goal, fix your eyes on the summit, otherwise enjoy the climb.The promise of eternal life is there, it isn’t moving and in the face of loss grief, pain and suffering it will still remain. We cling to that! Not to the present sufferings, but to the future glory that God has promised! Fight the good fight! Finish the race! This is the conclusion I have come to: In my final hour, when I wish for death, I will continue to live because it is a promise of the life I have been given and will be given. I will take one stone at a time, one foot in front of the other knowing that God is the one in control and that he has already promised me life even in my dying, and what is more is that he is with me in that journey. 

My dear family and friends, Thank you so much for all your prayers and support! I think of all of you very often. My journey here in England is nearing an end and a new journey is about to begin. I will miss many of you, and many of you I am excited to see again. Please never stop praying!

Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,  always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy