Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harried, But Calm

Violin and piano play through musical passages, the arpeggios and scales coming from two separate rooms. A little boy dawdles at my kitchen table over his math book, sporadically announcing answers to his arithmetic problems. I quickly respond to a google chat while writing an e-mail, attempting to plan final details for an upcoming speaking engagement at a nearby church. In between that scheduling, I research the best price for a special Christmas gift. At the same time, I consider the Thanksgiving menu one last time, send a note to my daughter who is bringing lots of goodies that day, and make a mental grocery list (now if that's not dangerous, I don't know what is...)

Through it all, I wonder what I should be writing here on my blog. So much busyness, which we all experience a bit too often. But deep inside, I am settled. That is precious.

A holiday house guest is with us for the week, an adorable young Palestinian woman from a local campus. The dorms were emptied and she had no where to go. So one of our household members told her she would be welcome here. And she most certainly is.

Upon meeting her, I was instantly charmed. She had arrived the night before; I was already tucked in bed and had not yet been introduced. The morning of our meeting, she came downstairs showered and dressed, and upon entering the family room where a documentary on the Underground railroad was being viewed, she cheerily extended a hand of greeting. She soon crawled beneath a comforter, sharing warmth on the couch with Camilla while exclaiming her interest in American history and how glad she would be to join the viewing.

Over lunch preparations we talked of homeschooling, her two years in Italy, how she has not been home since, how challenging and dangerous her life in the Gaza strip had been.

I read aloud from the book that is our daily lunchtime entertainment, Across Five Aprils. As we finished the portion allotted for the day, she beamed, and said, "How nice! I like this. I think I will homeschool my children someday! You can put into them what you want them to have."

The book we read is about war, our own Civil War. We read of a mother, her face twisted with pain, receiving news from a son who has survived a battle, but seen grievous things. He will see more. We read also of young men who were sobered through the reality of sorrow and anguish, facing things that we hope to never see. I knew that she had seen them. These things were already a reality in her young life.

Later she told stories at the dinner table of losing her home, living on the street in a tent with her 13 family members. We heard of greater losses; she told of a school girl friend, shot and killed by Israeli soldiers as she herself was holding the friend's jacket collar, reaching out to say "good-bye until tomorrow". Good-bye had taken on a whole new meaning in an instant of time.

So today I am pondering more lasting things in spite of the busyness. I love this young girl dearly. She is devout in her Muslim faith, yet happy to be here, "in my first American home!" May she find peace, joy, and love. May she truly find all these things.

3 Comments:

Blogger thisrequiresthought said...

we would love to meet her, esp. since we did so much study on the Palestinian situation last year.

how very cool that she is staying with you!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Abigail said...

I also loved meeting her on Sunday. She has been on my heart often this week.

Abby

2:01 PM  
Blogger Quinne said...

Hi Darlene :) What a wonderful place the Father set for her - at your table with Him. I will be praying with you! Love, Q

7:50 PM  

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