Awakened

God was pressing on me to open my eyes to the community around me.  I felt his nudging as I looked at my surroundings and breathed in the simplicity of their offering.  I began to find humor and amusement in this random, yet quirky place.  I had asked God to open my eyes to his blessings.  He seemed to awaken every sense in order to fully grasp what a wondrous world he had brought me to.  I am sure there will be many more, but here are a few little blessings I have found in the bayou, that amuse this Virginia girl.

TREES – The trees here are enormous and mysterious, yet beautiful.  I had seen these live oak trees before, dripping with Spanish moss, but had never fully appreciated their majesty.  To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect of the landscape here.  I knew it would be flat. I just assumed flat meant barren.  But there is lush greenery everywhere you look.  Which makes my heart sing.  Back home, I desperately missed the vibrant colors during the winter months, now it seems green will be a mainstay.  The trees here are broad and strong.  This journey has required more strength of me than I could have ever imagined. Before strength comes growth.  These trees have been growing for hundreds of years and were once not so strong.  I am sure they faced many hardships before becoming the symbols of strength they are today.

GOOGLE MAP – I had no idea how gratifying it was to be able to get to a location with out the use of map app on my phone.  I have never been so thankful for my Smartphone and unlimited data in my life.  (All the credit goes to my sister on that one).  Type in the address to get to where you want to go.  Type in the address to get home. Repeat. Relying on my GPS for going EVERY.WHERE. was frustrating.  Walmart, grocery store, gas station, home, I felt helpless.  But that moment, where I realized, “I think I can drive 5 miles without directions and return home” was HUGE.  I can be taught!  I can remember!  Then came a point where I actually gave my husband directions, well now that was pretty most glorious.

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FERDINAND the BULL – There is this bull, in the back yard, of a house around the corner.  Its not really in a neighborhood, but its not in on a farm either.  Its more like a side street with houses and a bull in the yard.  Every day we look for the bull. Sometimes he’s standing up and you can really grasp how massive this brown, hairy animal is.  Other times, he is laying down because it is just too hot to stand any longer.  No matter what however, he has his little buddies surrounding him.  There are beautiful, dainty egrets that stand on and around the bull, eating the bugs he attracts.  It is the strangest sight to see this vast bodied animal being tended to by delicate white birds.  He makes me smile every time we pass by, which is sometimes multiple times a day.  My kids always look for him.  I think they get my amusement.

BELLS – Behind our home there is a Catholic church.  Which isn’t so strange here in Cajun country, but this church has a bell tower.  Sitting on my back patio and listening to the bells is one of the most peaceful times of the day.  Sometimes the bells toll, announcing the hour or beckoning the parishioners to mass, but other times the bells play hymns. Either I’m humming along or feeling like Fraulein Maria running down the mountain with habit in hand.   Beautiful hymns reminding my of growing up years because I have known these hymns all of my life.  Its almost as if a piece of home still surrounds me, comforting me in the throes of this new place.

These little things I will ponder in my heart.  These little things will remind me that God is here, directing my path,  and in the process of showing me our purpose and place in here in the bayou.  No matter what waters may rise.

 

Wounded

Exactly three weeks prior to our moving truck arriving, three police officers were fatally shot in retaliation of a police shooting that happened two weeks before.  I knew we were entering what appeared to be a racially divided city.  Driving around the area, blue ribbons were on mailboxes and for sale in the grocery store, in support of the police officers.  I knew these people were hurting.  God didn’t just want me to know their hurt, he wanted me to feel it.

One of the men that showed up to move our items into our house was the father of Montrell Jackson, one of those officers whose watch ended just three weeks ago.  He left behind a 4 month baby boy and a sweet wife.  He left behind a Daddy who dearly loved his “Baby Boy”.  He said when he heard the news report that morning, he immediately called Montrell.  His son always answered and if he couldn’t talk, he would say, “I’ll call you later, Pops.”  His son never picked up, after three attempts to reach him.  He turned to his wife and said, “We aren’t going to church today, Montrell’s dead.”  I remember reading about this young police officer with a passion for his community.  He dreamed of being on the force in order to make a change in the world in which he grew up.  He had posted on Facebook after the first shooting, sharing about his love for his community and his love for the police force.  His father is convinced his son had prophesied his own death.

Later on, my 3 year old and I went to the store to pick out some items for that little baby who would never know his father.  I ached for the family.  I ached for the community.  I wondered why God placed this father in my path.  I truly believe God wanted me to bond with the community faster than I could do on my own.  Why, I have yet to figure out, but while I have only been here one month, it feels like I have lived here longer.  I miss home terribly, but God’s plan is not my own, and it never has been.