Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wind in our faces; clouds on the horizon

Friday, November 17, 2017
My 2 appointments are scheduled for 11 and 12:30. Or so I think. On my way to the first, I'm in the car with two others. Coworker Mandy is visiting from Jakarta but she has weekend plans and must return home. She tries to buy a train ticket after her overnight visit. Tee, our other guest, is helping her with transportation.

On the way down the hill, I get a WhatsApp message. My first meeting is postponed: the lady is ill. With WAs flying back and forth, we make new arrangements for Monday. Timewise, you need great flexibility here. Sometimes as a day goes by, plans seem to change hour by hour. Today's one of those days.

I was going to drop the women off at the nearest Indomart grocer, where online booking and payment is possible. But with the cancellation, I might as well wait in the car for them. (Since W's teaching in Malaysia, I can't help. I leave travel hacking and planning to him. I know none of the shortcuts he uses.)

The gals find it impossible to book a ticket online. Every train is sold out. They get all the way to pay and the machine crashes. So they try again. And again. No luck. I sit in the car for a half hour and catch up with emails, messages, and reading.

I also call a friend: does she want to ride along to the next meeting, which is on another hill? She tells me, "Actually, it is at 2:00. The lunch meeting last time was an exception." Whew, I thought we had to be there at 12 or 12:30. Good thing I didn't show up as planned.

That gives me some breathing space. When Mandy, Tee, and I finally head up the hill, I think I have time for a cup of tea with them. I want to hear what is on their hearts. Each gal works in a needy community and I want to know, "What God is asking you to do in Indonesia or around the world?"

Tee especially loves the Padma Hotel with its valley overlooks. (W and I seldom go there because it's so expensive.) The gals and I get dropped off and are seated at a table next to the wonderful view.

The two women hardly look up though. They're online for 2 hours, trying to book a ticket on the train, plane, or maybe a shuttle van, if nothing else? They call local friends for help because you need a certain debit card with a certain bank if booking a ticket online. (And you can't get that debit account without having a certain visa or being a citizen.) Oh my. It's complicated.

We drink tea and coffee, and Tee orders fries to share while they work. Finally, I tell them I have to leave by 1:00. And there's just one more call, just one more try ... and it's 1:10. They book a plane ticket for the morning: it costs under $20 to Jakarta.

For me, it's now or never. I have to get home. Mandy is as cold as I am from the wind and storms rushing over the valleys and hills. She comes back to the house with me. Tee stays to work on her studies and meet another friend.

I quickly change into something more dressy and make spaghetti for lunch. Then we go to get the neighbor, headed to a book group that's met for almost 20 years. Last month, they invited me to join them. They've read a book about North Korean defection. We talk about reunification, the identity of self, and how we can know the truth.

"What is truth?" asks one. Another says it might be what we learn and what we are told, unless we are curious and keep exploring. My belief is that ultimate Truth is what Jesus reveals about God.

Everyone talks and listens. The stimulating discussion rests on their longstanding friendships: they've met almost monthly for such a long time. They slip in and out of Indonesian and I learn a few new words.

The food is yummy. I haven't had such a large piece of cake (in this case, cheesecake) in ... forever? I eat the whole thing. Marjie is a fabulous cook and baker, everyone agrees.

It's almost 5:00 when I get home. The gals go out for supper and I tackle work. I get a call at 10pm. A friend has baked bread and is sending it across the city to our place by motorcycle. It takes the guy 20 minutes to arrive and then I read until almost midnight.

The sun comes up about 5:30am so I'm awake. I lock the gate behind Mandy at 7:00 as she heads to the airport. Her flight is (of course) delayed, but at least she's there and ready to go.

I review a dissertation for one of our doctoral students. It's on the short side and missing some key things but so much closer to done. And then I review a book that the author hopes to use for his masters or doctoral research. I've been asked to write a recommendation.

Tee orders lunch for us from Miss Bee a few blocks away. A motorcycle brings it to the gate. Tee works through lunch upstairs and I work downstairs. I'm happy with my 16 oz tea mug, which gets refilled a few times as an excuse to stretch my legs.

Before it's "O Christmas Tree",
 it's 'Oh look, it's still autumn" 
The thunder and lightning is fierce today. The yard dog, who is scared silly of thunder, sneaks past me as I'm working in my office - his nails have been clipped this week, so I don't hear him go upstairs. He follows Tee around until she lets me know he's up there. I have to put him on the leash to bring him down. He crawls behind my chair and lies still until the storm has passed.

Inbetween, pings and beeps remind me of incoming messages and WAs. Everyone is connected online here - many people have several phones for different groups (work, family, friends). My one phone keeps me busy enough.

Occasionally, I get up and walk around. I put away the vases holding the fall silk flowers. I poke the bouquets into the undecorated Christmas tree. I like it enough to snap a photo. And I'm relieved to send off the two major projects by evening.

Read more:
*Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:1-2  NIV
*Devote yourselves completely to the Lord our God. 1 Kings 8:61
*The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2
*Paul wrote: Who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
*Paul also wrote: Jesus Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14
Moravian Prayer: Radiant Christ, you are the beacon of hope and the light in a world of darkness. Empower us to spread your light to others by feeding the hungry, giving clothes to the naked, and providing shelter for the homeless.
God of all things, every aspect of our lives can be an act of worship. Remind us to work, play, and serve in the joy of salvation so we can devote our whole hearts to you and experience happiness. Amen.

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