Even though

I sniffed. Ah, lemon. The smell of clean.

“Shukran, Fatiha,” I expressed my thanks as I followed my house helper out the front door.

I loved Wednesdays. It meant a visit from Fatiha who doused my tile floors with buckets of water and “Monsieur Propre” (the Mr. Clean equivalent), finished my dirty dishes, and swept the area rugs. So much dust gathered on our floors from the open windows and five kids tracking in street dirt, a good Moroccan-style wash was welcomed.

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I moved past my clean counters onto the back patio. The autumn sun cast shadows and warmth. This patio was a solace—my green space. It was contained and compact, but the plants—the jades especially—reached for the sun.

I tried to find a place to sit, but couldn’t find the step stool. In my search, my eyes fixed themselves on a stack of shoes.

Ah, Fatiha, bless her heart, gathering the kids shoes.

Then, a gasp.

Yes, indeed, and stacking them on my chive plant. Arrgh!

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The wee chive plant. The one I bought after months of trying and failing to grow seeds. The one that I was nurturing so that we could have cut chives on at least one of our baked potatoes! I was excited about this chive plant even though I couldn’t quite get it to thrive…rats!

————-

This occurred one year ago. My 5-year gratitude journal brought it to mind this week. October 29, 2014:

“Thankful for Fatiha for cleaning my floors (though she put shoes on my chive plant).”

I laughed in reading it. An example of a day where my emotions were so high and then just plummeted. I felt thankful and then discouraged. I laughed at myself for writing the disappointing words in parenthesis like they were hidden words, “by the way” words, casting-a-shadow-on-an-otherwise-sunny-day words.

But, every day has events like this, yes?

People are kind enough to ask how I’m doing these days of transition back to the states. I reply,

“Every day brings something that I’m thankful for…the fall leaves, Hannah’s laugh, guacamole dip (though I cry most days too).”

I put that last part in parenthesis as sometimes I say a phrase like that as an afterthought, a quiet, head down remark. …wondering if the person is still engaged with me and if they want to hear the hard of my days. I’m content though still faltering. I’m happy though still grieving. I’m full though still leaking tears.

As I pondered these things, another though came to mind. David, in Psalm 23, writes that the Lord is his shepherd, he cares for him, he cherishes him. Though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, David wouldn’t be afraid as the Lord remained with Him.

This truth has been my sanity these days. The Lord goes with me. He is in control. He is a shepherd, though I go through emotional lows. He promises to go with me. I utter the things in the parentheses to him–He hears me and comforts.

So thank you wee squashed chive plant. You have given me more joy today in recollection than eating you on my potato would have brought!

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