Even for Days Like This …
By: Donna Haug
November 22, 2003
Have you ever had “one of those days”? My husband had one this week. By the time he came home in the evening and finished telling me his story, I was just glad he was home safe and sound. Just listen to some of his story.
Driving in downtown Maputo is always an adventure. Traffic lights that work or don’t work at their leisure, streets that give birth to new and deeper potholes almost every day and drivers that seem to have won their driver’s licenses for free in a Cracker Jack box are all joys that we face every day. But today, Mark faced another street adventure which, as of yet, he had not encountered. While pulling to the side of the road to park the truck, he realized that a better spot was opening up just in front of where he was. Having just pulled to a stop, he went backwards a foot or two so that he could pull into the parking spot. As he locked up the truck and headed into the store, a man came rushing into the store holding onto the arm of a lady. She seemed to be limping slightly and her pant leg was all dirty. The man confronted Mark and told him that when he had backed up, this lady was directly behind him and he had knocked her down! Mark had been totally unaware of the situation but it was obvious that the story was true. He took her into a store right there and insisted on buying her a new pair of pants since she refused to go to the hospital! That could have been worse. Whew!
On another errand, Mark was standing in a long ‘bicha’ (line-up) to get some documentation notarized, when a lady behind him started screaming and chasing someone down the stairs. Apparently, in the middle of all those people, this young man grabbed the lady’s cell phone and ran with it. She caught up to him on the stairs, held on to his hair and screamed at him until he gave the phone back. But was she satisfied?? No! She kept chasing him out onto the street where some men there grabbed him and started kicking him and beating on him – such is the form of justice in this land! Since he’d already given the phone back they let him go ‘easy’. Sigh! Just another day in Africa.
Later that day, our son, Jonathan, was with his daddy in a large hardware/department store. Jonathan had gone upstairs to look around while Daddy did his business, and unintentionally knocked a vase over and broke it. He came running down to tell Daddy about it. Together they returned upstairs to speak to the manager and offer to pay for the damage. They were assured that was not necessary and thanked him for his honesty.
Leaving the parking lot of that same store, Mark accidentally ‘kissed’ the bumper of a car that had parked incredibly close to him, and scratched the bumper. In a mirror image of what had just happened inside the store, Mark now had to go announce over the loud speaker for the owner of such and such a vehicle to come to the front of the store. The owner came and spoke to Mark who then told him what had happened and showed him the scratch. The man could hardly believe that someone would go through the bother of calling him to tell him what had happened. He told him not to worry about it and, again, thanked him for his honesty.
That evening Mark took a ladder he had borrowed from a missionary friend and changed some light bulbs and replaced a light fixture in our 12-foot high ceilings. I bet you can’t guess who was nervously holding onto the ladder, hoping desperately that the excitement of the day was over!
As we lay down in bed that night, we thought back over the day. It could have been worse – but it wasn’t. The lady was not seriously injured, and we had nothing stolen that day. The testing of Mark’s patience could have ended in a roar – but, in the end, God’s name was glorified and our son saw demonstrated in his father’s life what honesty and integrity is all about. We were home, safe in our own bed, reassured in knowing that God has our lives in His hands. Thank-you, Lord, even for days like this!
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Ah, Donna! Wonderfully written! Who hasn't had days like that? Thanks for reminding us to always give thanks, even when some days make you wonder why you bothered getting out of bed. As you pointed out, there is always something to be thankful for. God bless you. ~Mary