Monday, November 21, 2005

The aftermath & other sad ponderings

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

Maybe that doesn't capture my thoughts exactly, but it captured the mood.

Mr. S went home last Friday (see previous post). This is ok. That is truly what he wanted, although I know he was afraid to leave Mrs. S. I am thankful that we got to know him the way we did, and I know Mr. S's stories and memories will make nice stories when we have grandkids that (like me) can never get enough stories from their grandparents. And that is how we thought we were visiting the S's to keep them company only to find out that we were visiting the S's because God had a plan. Most people think we were ministering to them not knowing they were ministering to us. Not that we were seeking or expecting these blessings because in fact we have done as was in our hearts, but that God has blessed us through getting to know them.

As it is when sad things happen, I came to thinking about a bunch of things. I, of course, considered the future as anyone does when a death makes you realize time on earth ain't infinite, but more importantly, I have had a chance to think about my journey in the past few years. Don't take me wrong, I don't think dwelling in the past is good, but one has to look back every now and then to make sure they are walking in tha right direction. The following long post is a collection of thoughts I wrote down (but didn't get to publish) yestarday afternoon.

Why do I live in Atlanta? I have asked myself that question many times. Sometimes in longing for my loved and warm Puerto Rico full of family and laughter, sometimes looking for a purpose. Because I believe in God, I know that I am not here by accident. As I was thinking about this last night (Sunday) on my way home from a work reception I had a couple of thoughts:

1. I have matured so much since coming to Atlanta. I am no longer the young puertorrican that arrived at that unfamiliar airport with a suitcase full of clothes, a guitar and a computer. I am now married. I live in a house. I have a church family of my own. I have friends and different support groups. My accent has faded, my thoughts on life are very different these days. When I came I was a very inexperienced girl, perhaps too smart for her own good. Now I have more experience, but sometimes I feel dumber (not as in lacking intelligence, but as in unable to explain things that had simple explanations before).

At 17 when I arrived here I knew what I learned in Catholic school about the Bible, what I learned from my parents helped me develop a moral system and the stories of my grandma, greatgrandma and greatgrandma's sister helped me smile and reminisce with a little nostalgia of times that I never knew.

2. I have matured in my faith. I might not be as black and white as I used to be when I was 17, but sometimes that black and whiteness resulted out of self-righteousness and in that sense I have become wiser. I now understand much more than I did then. The Lord has met me in Atlanta in a way that I would have never expected, but never violating my desires. We had agreed I would let Him take over, but I was afraid of change and so I pleaded that He does this slowly. And He has... looking back know He has taken over so much and it is so much better this way. Praise God!

3. I now do things I would have never thought of. At my arrival in Atlanta I didn't want anything to do with Christian music. Today I help with worship music at West Merritts Baptist Church (really the name of the church is Midtown Community Church, but in my heart there is a special place for the old name). At 17 I wasn't going to get married until I turned 30 or so, at 24 I am married, own a house and will probably have kids before 30. At 17, I was going to return to Puerto Rico and live there forevermore as soon as I finished school (at 21). God saw it otherwise and I am not even sure if that will ever happen.

At 17, I knew God had something for me to do, I didn't know what. At 24, I have a pretty good guess and am amazed at the way that God has worked in my life for that goal in these 7 years during which sometimes I didn't even feel any closer to God than a non-Christian. At 17 God promised He would never let me go, all He asked is that I seek Him and I pray to Him. Today, when I realize I might have not been as faithful as I should, I realize He is just as faithful if not more than ever!

I will be 17 no more, but I have no need to be 17 again. God has made sure to provide for me in ways I could never imagine. And I just now, come to realize how great is His faithfulness.

1. He brought me to a church of dedicated believers where I have learned the word.
2. He brought me to a church that more than a church is a church family and has truly provided in that sense.
3. He has provided for me the husband I prayed for. Not that I prayed to have a husband because I didn't really want to get married, but knowing that one day I would get married, I prayed for my husband whomever he was, so that God would bring him safe and wise to me. God did.
4. He has provided for me financially.
5. He has provided for me emotionally. Today I stand tall as an emotionally mature individual with ocasional instances of homesickness.
6. He has provided for my family while I have been away.
7. He has provided endless opportunities of growth.
8. He has provided many ways to do His service and has remained faithful even when I have hesistated.

Recently, God provided Jamil and I with grandparents. We have grandparents at home, God bless them. I grew up around my grandma, grandpa, greatgrandma, greatgrandmas sister etc. etc. I love my immediate family, but I owe my extended family a good bit of my upbringing. God even thought of that. WMBC sports an extended family of 6. But most recently, God has allowed Jamil and I a pair of special grandparents away from home. I am thankful to God for them, and I am thankful to them for their faithfulness. I am thanful to God for the family and friends he has provided. I am thankful to my friends and family for what they let God do through them (knowingsy or unkowingly). I am thankful to God for where I am in life. I am thankful to God for bringing me to Atlanta. I am thankful to God for working on me even when I haven't been faithful. Lord, bless all the people you have put in my life, every single one of them. Lord, bless their lives, their loved ones, provide for them as yau have provided for me and allow me to be a blessing in their lives tha way you have made them a blessing in mine.

Last thought:
The human in me fears cooking neverending pasta again. The Christian in me rejoices in the knowledge that I do not have to worry about these things because God is in charge. At 17 I would have been embarrassed about this post, at 24 I could care less. I am not done growing or being molded by God.

Mr. S, I know you told me not to be sad, but I am not sad for you (I promise), I am sad for us who will now go on without you (and your wise advice) and for those who will never have the chance of getting to meet yourself or someone like you. Don't worry though, we'll take care of Mrs. S for you.


Allison said...

That's beautiful, Patricia. I am sad that I am only just now reading it. God, indeed, does have a plan for you to be here and I am glad he brought you-- and Mr. S-- into our lives.

Chandra said...

Wow. It makes me look back on who I was with fondness (even the dumb, dumb, dumb person I was before I became a Christian), not regret. Thanks.

And I think it's sweet that you (we) are learning how to accept "Midtown Community Church" while still holding WMBC in a special place in your (our) heart(s). Praise God for his grace!