The egg man

In 1973, while I was teaching in a school several miles away on New Ireland, my sister Arlene and her husband were missionaries living in a semi native-style house in the small village of Tufabi. Arlene was pregnant with her first child.

 

Arlene loved the house Michael and some of the villagers had built mainly from local bush materials. It looked out over the ocean to where the distant salt haze merged the sea into the sky.

Her first pregnancy was a good, healthy one. She glowed with well-being from her natural health and the enormous amounts of locally grown fruit and vegetables she ate. She also walked along the beach right beside their house, and swam in the limpid tropical water.

 

Tufabi 1

She had one concern regarding her lifestyle. She was getting very little protein in her diet. Gazing out the window at the sea, brilliant turquoise that day, she prayed, God, please provide more protein for me and this baby. Thank you for the occasional eggs the village women give me so sacrificially, but I feel I need more than they can give. She breathed in the tangy salt air.

 

One day as Arlene tidied the house, she heard a car purring in along the sandy driveway. It stopped outside the house. Who could be visiting? She hurried over to the window to see. Brown hair and a brown-bearded face peered from the car. It was Peter! He clambered out.

 

Peter was a Christian who taught in a nearby school. He had avoided them until recently and had just begun to visit. What could he want today?

 

“Hello, Peter!” she called from the window.

 

Peter reached into the car and pulled out two large trays of beautiful eggs. Dozens of them. “Hello. I’m the egg man at school and these were left over. Can you use them?”

Could she use them! All that lovely protein, waiting to be made into omelettes or boiled eggs or  . . .

Thank you, God! She breathed. And as she thanked Peter, Michael invited him in for a cup of tea. It was the first of many happy times together.

 

Sorry the photos are old. Taken in 1973.

The Potter

As I sat on my veranda in the school holidays at Kenilworth, Jim paused on his way past.

“Dry, isn’t it,” I said, looking at the wilting, brown grass and plants. Even some of the trees looked tired.

“What we need is a good flood now,” Jim told me.

“A flood?” I remembered the silver thread of water becoming a turbulent brown mass swirling down the river, bursting the crumbling banks. Destructive water.

“Yes,” he said, “it’s what the land needs.”

I shuddered.

But Jim never ceased to amaze me with his knowledge of seasons and the land.

 

I remembered that last flood again. Ominous leaden skies weighing down on us.The eerie feeling in the air as relentless muddy water crept higher and higher up the cliffs. And then the water trickling over the land. Further and further. I’d found it exhilarating but a bit frightening.

 

What if it didn’t stop before it reached our houses?

 

It did though.

 

After the flood subsided, the entire landscape was different. As it dried out, I marvelled at how God, the Great Potter, had gouged mud from cliffs and paddocks and sculpted it into beautiful shapes. How He had used the swirling water to mould, smooth and carve out patterns on the high muddy cliff that formed one of the river banks. (Jer.18:1+) The entire cliff was reshaped.

 

Grass would grow again, greener than before. Swallows and kingfishers would dart in and out of nests in the mud of the bank. The land would flourish peacefully under His mighty creative hand.

 

And people would admire the graceful sculptures carved into the muddy bank as they gazed across the river.

 

I’m still in the hands of the Potter. Still being moulded and shaped as I continue to settle in to a different living area and a semi-retired lifestyle. I’m busier than before, I suspect.

 

Are you still in the Potter’s hands? What sort of situations are shaping you?

 

Photo of Mary River rising by Elvira Meridy White

The Faith of Birds

(A few of you will have read this, which I have changed a little, but I’d like to put it in here anyway.)

 

Faith is a bird that, feeling the dawn coming, sings while it is yet dark.  – An old Scandinavian proverb.

My friends, who were away, had invited me to stay in their beautiful house in a fairy-tale setting beside a rainforest. Large windows looked out at lush green trees, orange flowers and trailing vines. Birds chirped and sang.

As I prepared my room for the night, I looked out at the wall of green towering above me, about ten metres away. Every shade of green and brown jostled together. Darkness fell quickly as the sun dipped behind the forest and, after a simple snack, I climbed into a big bed piled high with doonas.

Several things had been weighing on my mind but as I lay in that ‘magic’ atmosphere, I felt assured everything would turn out for the best.

I woke at about four in the morning. In the pitch darkness, I crept down to the kitchen to get a glass of water, then groped my way back to my room. I settled into bed in the cool blackness, intending to sleep longer.

As I closed my eyes, a tentative twitter, then a louder chirp, broke the silence. The birds were waking! The sharp, moist sweetness of a whipbird’s call rent the stillness. It must be nearly dawn, although there was no light visible.

This was too good to miss! I went down to the kitchen again, made a cup of tea and began my morning ‘quiet time’ – a time when I hoped to commune with God. As I sat, I listened to one bird after another waking and calling to its mates.

Chirps, whistles, a burst of melodic song, even a call like a cat’s meow, filled the pre-dawn world. Gradually the darkness melted to grey and the shape of the forest towered above me, still dark and shadowy but filled with birds’ songs. Early light crept around the tree tops and watery sunlight slanted across the lawn.

 

Photo by Unsplash

Even before they glimpsed the light, the birds sang to greet the dawn. They knew the light was coming.

A lesson for me, I thought. To know God’s light will soon break through this long season of darkness and silence.

The birds chorused joyfully. It was a new day, alive with sunshine and birdsong. And hope.

 

*                                              *                                       *

Initially I wrote this article, which I have changed a bit, for my first blog, Jeanette’s Journallings (jeanettegt.blogspot.com). It has also been published in Glimpses of Light anthology –  https://www.amazon.com/Glimpses-Light-Stories-poems-imagination-ebook/dp/B019FLDHHM/

 

 

Stillness

For several years, I lived part-time in Kenilworth, on the beautiful sloping grounds of Kenilworth Homestead. At the generous invitation of the (then) owners, my friends the Rowes, I’d bought a mobile home, immobilised it so it stood on stumps, and added a gabled veranda. It was a ‘tiny home’, I suppose.

From my veranda I could see out across the river, over the paddocks to the quiet hills beyond. In summer we all swam in the deep cool water beneath the cliff. In winter I had a spectacular view in the late afternoons, as the sun blazed in the sky and silhouetted the lacework of the crepe myrtle trees. And I walked, alone or with friends.

Kenilworth hills ( Elvira) - Copy

(Photo by Elvira White)

One of my favourite walks was along the road in the Obi Obi Valley. One calm clear  winter’s day, I set out, hoping to walk off some of the tension I’d brought back after a busy term teaching speech and drama in Nambour. Perhaps I’d get inspiration how to deal with a difficult pupil. As I walked, I breathed in the cool, grass-fragrant air. A tractor puttered nearby. Tiny wrens chirped in the long grass beside the road.

The tractor stopped. Silence. Even the wrens stopped twittering. A palpable stillness fell across the valley, as if even the air between the hills to the west and the east were sitting calm and quiet. The air was so still, I felt I should hardly breathe in case I disturbed the calm. I stopped walking and drank in the silence. The still air.

10985600_783957871683671_8495286682376261854_n

(Photo by Dennis Woodford)

As I stood there, barely breathing, a scripture filled my mind. “Be still and know that I am God” ( Psalm 46:10). I felt almost as if I could touch Him. and my tension dissolved in His peace.