Personal Ramblings

my sathi

“Hi Sathi” . . . that’s how Melinda’s emails begin.  Sathi–it’s Nepali (and Hindi and Urdu and Sanskrit) for “friend.”

As far as friends go, we were quite different to start with: I was older, she younger; I’m short, she’s tall; I had adolescent children; she had a two little boys, one still in diapers. . . But as strangers in an even stranger land, away from extended family and home, with workaholic husbands, we found comfort in each other and became close friends.

She’d whinge (She’s from Australian) and I’d whine (I’m from the US) and we became Sathis. . . The word “sathi” means more than friends;  it means faithful partners. In Nepal and India Sathi is used to refer to both friend and spouse, it signifies a relationship that is not to be broken.

Life is often too busy to keep in touch, but with sathis, it’s great to know that they’re there when it counts.

Spiritual Musings

a friend’s reassurance


I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1, 2

Guy #1 is in one of life’s harsh predicaments. Feeling desperate, he’s waiting for God to fix things. Thus begins Psalm 121.

But Guy #1 doesn’t get beyond two verses. Guy #2 takes over for the rest of the psalm. We don’t know who he is. And who he is really doesn’t matter; it’s his role in this psalm that should beckon our attention. He is there to reassure Guy #1 of the omnipresence and the grace of God. He speaks of God walking with us to keep us company through our misery, of God watching over us night and day, of God protecting us no matter what we are up to.

Nothing he says is new or profound. It is a truth that Guy #1 knows and has already stated very clearly (“My help comes from the Lord.”) So what Guy #2 says doesn’t really matter very much either.

What matters is that he is there for his friend. He is a true friend–the kind that sticks around when you are awful company; the kind that doesn’t fuel your misery, but instead gently keeps you focused on the solution to the problem.


Personal Ramblings

courage from friendship

Wrinkles has the knack of claiming the most expensive rug at home as her own. When I had the vintage Afghan rolled out, she was quick to give up her thick-piled Tibetan for the thinner yet warmer red spread.

Yesterday I rolled out the silk and lamb’s wool rug that I bought to resell and fund my other rug purchases . . . just to look at it once more! And before I gave in to my vain perversion for rugs (which a whole different story) and decided to keep it, Wrinkles walked over, pawed at the fine silk and settled her smelly belly right in the middle of it.

I yelled and gestured every doggie threat I knew, but she paid me no heed. Just sat there, glaring, daring me to do something about it. So I lunged towards her and she immediately got up and stood between Jez’s legs.

Her doggie courage is obviously not from some inner doggie strength. It comes from her alliance with Jez, her protector and friend! I’ll get her when Jez’s not around.

Personal Ramblings

beautiful Ulrichs

Today is Jez’s birthday. I’m his mother yet I got so busy that I didn’t wish him till noon today. Feel terrible.
But I bet Mauri and Estelle remembered Jez’ birthday at least 10 days’ ago. They never forget. Friends and families may move and change addresses, but a birthday card from Mauri and Estelle will somehow find them. Last year, I got a card from them that had travelled to three addresses before finding me! And when it arrived it brought not just good wishes but wonderful memories–of their annual trips to Nepal to volunteer, our visit to their beautiful home in Australia with a lake view, Mauri mental collection of a jokes for every occasion, Estelle’s random notes of encouragement and little gifts to make one feel special.
A wonderful couple, such an inspiration and example to our family.
Previously Published, Spiritual Musings

hope, the great motivator (collegiate quarterly, 2002)

Imagine that you’ve just walked seven miles of rocky terrain. It’s been a long, tedious journey and you’re glad to be home—a cool shower, a home-cooked meal and a soft bed await you. But before you can kick off your dusty shoes, you discover that you have to hike back the seven miles! How would you feel? What would motivate you to gladly trek the road you just traveled?

One of the greatest short stories about hope is found in Luke 24 and in set in a similar circumstances. The setting: A westbound road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The time: The end of the day, towards sunset. The characters: Two men and a stranger. The story: a simple, yet profound, chain of events. From this familiar story, there are lessons to be learned.

1.     Walk into the sunrise, not the sunset (Luke 24:13-17). Having just witnessed the crucifixion of the “prophet” who they hoped would deliver them from Roman bondage, these grief-stricken men are returning home without hope. Jesus meets them on the road, but they do not recognize Him. Why? Probably because the dazzle of the setting sun (Emmaus was west of Jerusalem) blurred their vision. Had they had the sunset behind them, perhaps they might have recognized Jesus. It is only with hope that you can move towards the sunrise, towards a new day. The Christian does not look back into the past, into the sunsets; The Christian looks to the future, to the dawn of each new day. The difference? Hope!

2.     Make sense of the confusion (Luke 24:25-27). The story begins with faces “twisted with grief,” but ends with hearts “burning” with good news. Jesus walks the long rocky terrain with them—He provokes their thinking, explains their questionings, clears up their doubts. Despite His shortage of time, Jesus walks with them, eats with them, stays with them. Jesus is there for us for as long as it takes to makes sense of the confusion around us. Because of Jesus’ company on the journey home, the men discovered the sequel to the mysterious weekend they had experienced in Jerusalem. The sequel was the fulfillment of prophecy, the fulfillment of the hope of the Messiah.

3. Share the joy. What motivated the men to hike back to Jerusalem? The discovery of hope! When they discovered that their traveling companion was the same Jesus who was crucified, they forgot about their tired feet, about the fact that it was too late in the day to travel back to Jerusalem, about the wasted time. Without hope, you experience the lethargy of depression. With hope, you are energized with a desire to share the joy with others.

Sharing hope creates a bond of fellowship. It is like the birth of true friendship. You can be casual friends with many, but when you share an experience and create a memory with someone, you are bonded for life. Hope is a great motivator. It can help you do things you would not otherwise do. It was hope that made the two men travel back to Jerusalem. What parts of you life would you like hope to take you back to? Consider two things you would like to see happen in your personal life and in the world church. How can hope help these things happen?