This morning’s readings were about profound encounters with God, and Graham shared a beautiful message about how we need to hold on to those experiences for other moments in our life that are difficult. I was struck by how he talked about Peter, James, and John thinking of that moment of transfiguration during their various trials through life after. Just yesterday, I had a conversation with Chris about how the last year and a half has been particularly rough for me but that I had a profound encounter with God before this season began. I cling to the Christ who loves me in light of the various trials I do have to face.

Not everything is a trial, though, and I’m celebrating this week the deep moments of healing as I had an unsolicited apology from someone who deeply wounded me five years ago. I also had a really good physio session after three weeks of decreasing leg spasms. I also spent more time on my feet and walking this week. I also had more vitamin D from the sun in Kandern.

Chris was also there with me when I read the EOB from my insurance that shows they’ve messed up yet again in denying me reimbursement for catheters covered on my plan. I let out some salty words, and he pulled out the card games he uses to teach design principles to distract me with a couple of rounds. There’s often a juxtaposition of joy and frustration when my community comes around me in difficult situations. There is not magic fix for insurance short comings (though this is a human error again that causes me considerable stress and disappointment), and there is no way to make my nerve damage disappear. I have to live this life with leg spasms and expensive catheters. However, I also have friends who feed me pizza on Friday nights and let me watch Zootopia with their family. How did I miss that wonder for so long? I promise you, watching it with a fourth grader is more fun though.

This week was a roller coaster of emotions as I had some anxiety related to possible conflict on Monday that swung to elation from an unforeseen apology on Tuesday; relative local calm disrupted by global tensions; texting a student distant in their faith a day apart from a student sending me unexpected thanks for being a mentor and friend.

In literature, juxtaposition of opposites is used to highlight something in the narrative. My life is not a carefully constructed plot line for anyone to write essays from, but as I’m publicly blogging about this, I recognize there’s a lot for me to learn in the juxtaposition here. I can hold my joy about emotional healing in one hand with my grief over physical shortcomings in the other. Similarly, my agony over the terror Ukrainians are experiencing right now is held in one hand while I encourage the students who came to me this week to talk about exciting opportunities in their future.

Life is messy, and I’m doing my best to grow with eyes open to the complexities around me. For me that means being fully present in the “selah” deep breath moments that the Lord gives me to refresh me. This week it was almost three hours with one of my prayer team members – a distant parent who was visiting her daughter for the weekend. This woman has been on the mission field for twice as long as I have, and I listened to her heart for life on life loving others to see Jesus transform hearts. While she told me some stories of her ministry, I was most struck by how present she was with me to encourage me and even thank me for being a positive role model to her daughters.

There’s always plenty to distract me, but I want to be fully present to each moment as it comes. This week, my moments will include more time on my treadmill as well as lessons where I encourage students to identify universal, eternal shared truths in the biblical text. I won’t be ignoring the rest of what’s happening in the world, but I’ll be working to give attention to each thing as it comes. Hopefully that means next week includes a report with positive gains in my physical ability as well as some kind of resolution to my insurance woes.

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