This past weekend in Birmingham, AL I had some unexpected blessings! Whenever I go somewhere, I never completely know how my schedule will fill up, with whom I will have an opportunity to meet, or what I may end up doing. It usually ends up being very interesting!
At my Grand Rounds talk last Thursday, I got to meet with some of my former colleagues, as well as some new people interested in Human Trafficking. It is always fun to catch up with people and see how things have changed, or not. I also got a couple of unexpected financial windfalls, which shows that all my needs are known and being taken care of.
Last Sunday I spoke to the English Ministry group at the Birmingham Chinese Christian Church. When I arrived, I was surprised to see a friend from Kunming! WOW! Sharon is a Chinese physician and we became good friends and had even started making plans to start a clinic together. These plans didn’t go through because her husband got accepted to graduate school in Texas. Then we lost track of each other. David is now in a Ph.D. program at UAB and they have been in B’ham for only 3 weeks. They had heard at church the previous week about a doctor named Katherine who was back in the States from China. Enough of my story resonated with them and they were excited to see if it was the same Katherine they knew! What a reunion! We shared a couple meals together over the next couple of days before I left Birmingham. The fellowship was quite amazing. I’m sure that we won’t be losing track of each other anytime soon! Small world, eh?
After my Sunday talk, I spent the afternoon with some folks with whom I used to worship. We shared, got caught up with each other, and then they prayed for me. Prayed in a way that was so special and so touching – I wish I could get every week – I was so blessed!
Honestly, that Sunday morning before fellowship was a bit rough for me. I wasn’t in a deep funk, but I was anxious about the talk, and a bit discouraged in general. I just didn’t want to speak in front of strangers again. I spent a lot of time that morning being quiet and asking for just a touch. I knew that I was in the right place, and that I was doing the right thing, I just didn’t have that centered peace. I went on, of course, in faith. God would show up sooner than later! And he showed up sooner!
My reunion friends, David and Sharon, shared this prayer by Thomas Merton with me. It speaks to where I’ve been, where I am, and where I probably will be. Perhaps it speaks to you as well.
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may
know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the
shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to
face my perils alone.
– Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”