Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Spirit

If it's Wednesday, it must be... Chapel. I am always grateful to walk to St. Philip's in the early morning sunshine. Primary school students, hospital staff members and farmers alike call out, "Habari, Mama/Daktari/Sister!" as we pass one another along the road. I crossed the theological college campus a few minutes late today and heard the now-familiar rhythmic a capella rumble of the first hymn through the open windows: "There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place." Dorcas gave the homily, a moving message about empowerment, encouraging us to fully use the gifts/talents God gives us. Eucharist is always both personal and corporate, and it is a joy to sink into the comfort and company of all faithful people in the tiny red brick chapel that reminds me of home.

One week from tomorrow most of my family will gather together for Thanksgiving. Half a world away, I will be working at the hospital and missing, but thinking gratefully of, them all. We've scheduled our own holiday dinner (chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, sukuma wiki/greens, baked pumpkin and mango pie) for Sunday, four days ahead of America's. The Pilgrims never landed on Kenya's shores, of course, but the authorities here seem to routinely invent new national holidays. The Hardisons and I decided we could be just as arbitrary and moved Thanksgiving up a few days to suit our patients' (OK, and our own) needs.

So Happy Holidays, Everyone! In spite of pain and poverty, illness and anxiety, we have much to be thankful for, the world over. I am especially grateful for your love and your prayers, and so are the people of Maseno. There truly is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place. We feel blessed to be able share it, and we send our love and prayers to you, as well. Asante sana.

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