These last two months I had a hectic schedule preparing for two events, my daughter’s move, Easter, and work. I was counting down the days until I’d get my life back with more free time. This day finally arrived on April 26, the day after Pipeline Worldwide’s Annual Getting WELL Connected event. I survived and was pretty satisfied with the outcome. I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend the weekend reading emails or reconciling the event. I’d try to relax and be grateful for the needed rest. I was pretty proud of myself that I only showered once and binge watched an entire Netflix series. (It only had one season though.) If you know me well, then you’d know this was an accomplishment. I like getting stuff done so my idea of relaxing is redesigning our office, organizing the closet and having my husband shiplap a wall. I also lack patience so waiting to review our event results and diving into feedback was tough. When I think about how ridiculous this sounds, I realize that I’m a work in progress. I have come a long way, but some improvements take longer than others.
I’ve learned a lot about patience through my travels to East Africa and these lessons serve as a good reminder when I find myself falling short. We funded a borehole (water well) for a school and community in Moyo, Uganda in 2014. We sent the funds shortly after our event in May, and I couldn’t wait for the drill rig to get to site and have water accessible within several days. This didn’t happen. Moyo is a difficult place to reach. There are two routes and both are treacherous. The way I take requires you to get on a ferry and cross the Nile River after hours of bumpy, dusty roads. The other way is much longer with worse roads and a narrow bridge to cross. The drill rig needed to take the bridge option which got washed out during the rainy season. It took months to repair before the drill rig could reach the site and drill the borehole. I was frustrated that we couldn’t find a different solution to complete our project sooner. When I finally was able to visit Moyo and the project, I was shocked to see all the new houses with small gardens built near the borehole. The school construction was also developing much faster than expected due to the availability of water. I thought about the families living inside those homes. I wondered how long they waited and prayed for water. For some people, it had been a lifetime. I could only imagine the frustration and disappointment they often felt waiting and hoping for their life to become easier. When the water finally flowed through the spout, the community sang and danced with joy. The wait was over and they were grateful for their new beginning.
Catherine is an inspiration. I first met her on a trip in November 2015 at the Bless a Child Foundation home for kids with cancer. She was laying on her stomach in her single bunk bed due to a large tumor on her lower spine. She couldn’t sit up and was extremely frail. She wasn’t expected to live more than a few months. She was experiencing significant pain, yet she beamed the most beautiful smile. Her sweet aura was contagious although looking at her made my heart hurt. I wanted to hold her and make her pain go away and find a way to help her. Although Catherine has spent every minute of every day laying on her stomach for the last four years, she has believed in her healing. Her light and strength have been a source of hope for the other kids at the home and for all of us who’ve come to know and love her. When other kids are afraid, they go to Catherine for words of encouragement. Even on the morning of my big event, I received a Facebook message from Catherine, “Hello Auntie Jamie, I wish you good luck in the name of Jesus.” Wow! Even through her own struggle, she is thinking of me.
Catherine’s patience and ability to provide hope for others provides perspective for me when I’m feeling sorry for myself or become inpatient. We have to learn to accept the timing in our lives and allow the wait to help us grow. It also makes us appreciate the victory and allows us to celebrate with real gratitude. Catherine is expected to have surgery this summer. It has taken 4 years for her to gain her strength and to find the right team of doctors who can successfully remove her tumor. I’m humbled that I’ve been able to be part of Catherine’s story and learn from her unwavering faith. Join me in praying for her healing and her continued strength to provide light to others.