I had a few blog posts planned this week: one about our wedding, since we were celebrating our 6th anniversary, one about how our girls are doing and some cute things about each of them, and one about the time I was forced to drink homemade vodka with presidential guards in the Republic of Georgia (Random, I know, but I told a friend that story recently and couldn't stop laughing about it).
Unfortunately, it's been a terrible week on many levels, and I just can't seem to write about any of the things I planned.
My stepfather passed away Wednesday.
It wasn't unexpected. In fact, three times on Wednesday I held my breath as my email came in, because I felt certain there would be something from my mom, and it wouldn't be good news. When that email arrived in my inbox Thursday morning, I felt just…hollow.
I think I would have been able to feel more and understand better if it weren't for everything else going on.
I had already been up since 5am, when Valerie threw up all over her sheets and shortly after vomited all over me too. Rena was ill on Tuesday and Valerie had the same symptoms the whole day yesterday. Naturally, I have it now too. Perfect.
We've had unstable electricity. We had a two-day blackout over the weekend, so our battery back-up system was completely drained (and our refrigerator smelled like gym socks). Monday and Tuesday we only got a couple of hours of electricity, so I didn't get the work done I really needed to, and it's just hanging over my head adding weight to everything else.
Then the water. Sigh. It's the end of dry season. It rained for about an hour a day after we arrived in Nigeria (in October), and not a drop since. We've had to be frugal with our water anyway, since city water only flows here about every two weeks, but the last couple times it came, it was barely a trickle. After several days of water conservation to the extreme, we decided with our upstairs neighbors to order a water truck delivery.
Water truck delivery. It's really expensive. Our contribution to the fee was roughly the same amount we paid for city water the entire duration of our stay in Nigeria. The company was supposed to fill up at the water facility, drive the truck here, and transfer the water into our tanks. But that's not what they did. No. They went to the dam and filled their truck with disgusting, reeking, diseased water, and put that in our tanks instead.
Yesterday while I stayed home with sick baby, I tackled the mountain of laundry that has accumulated while we've been looking for a solution to our water shortage. We actually had good electricity yesterday, so I managed two loads. Now all our clothes smell like algae and fish and sewage.
Our neighbor's housekeeper cleans our place on Thursdays. So, our house is clean, but…it smells like algae and fish and sewage. Every room is a new reason to cringe.
I need to shower, but, at the moment, body odor is preferable to my skin and hair stinking like algae and fish and sewage.
This morning Martijn brought over bucketfuls of water from our neighbors' well so that our kids can wash their hands and I can wash dishes. If I weren't ill, I would mop over all our floors to try and clean off the stench, but I'm simply not up to it today.
We've tried treating the water, but it isn't helping much. Probably it needs to be dumped, along with the money we paid for it.
I'm so tired, and so desperate for a moment of peace. I need to reflect on Steve's death and to work through my emotions. Last night I lied awake for a few hours trying to think, but all I could think about is how much our bedroom reeks and how angry I am about it. Not very helpful.
So, then, our topic in home school this week is having an attitude of thankfulness. Man, am I being tested in that! I'm trying to teach my kids what it means to be grateful, and that contentment is not dependent on circumstance. I know they are watching me, and I also know they will learn far more by how I respond to everything going on than by anything I say to them this week.
If you are someone who prays, I covet your prayers, especially for my mother. Yesterday I was holding Martijn…it's unthinkable that he could someday be gone and I would have to live on without him. I cannot even begin to comprehend her loss.
If you pray for me, perhaps something along these lines: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything who him who gives me strength." Phil 4:11-13
We are letters from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.