I am remembering a day in 2008, in Addis, when I was up before sunrise and ‘working out’ with my little Magic Queen. 

Not exercising per se but outside working, doing the laundry.

I may have told you about my special Ethiopian washing machine called Magic Queen. She had two side-by-side tubs. I loaded the dirty clothes and soap into the large left side, then added water with a hose.

After I closed the lid and moved the dial to ‘wash,’ she would twist and shout.  

Actually only twist and swish.  

Twenty or so minutes later, I moved the knob to ‘drain’ and all the dirty soapy water exited the tub and piped into the garden. Then I refilled her again, with the hose, and set the dial on ‘rinse’. 

She twisted and swished again. I drained her into the garden again. And then I moved the clean, heavy, wet clothes to the smaller right side and set the dial on ‘spin.’ 

That girl could spin! She twirled and whirled those clothes so fast and hard, they were nearly dry when I got them out to pin onto the clothesline. 

It was a job I enjoyed, spending time with my little Magic Queen. 

The morning I am remembering was chilly. I had a stocking cap on my head and a fleece jacket over my pajamas as I bopped back and forth from our apartment to the shed where the Queen lived. 

I must have looked a bit wobbly, because the night guard hanging out by the shed, watching my back-and-forthing, said something to me in Amharic. 

Algabanyim,” I told him. “I don’t understand.” 

Then he said in English.  “Sleeping. You no finish.” 

 I smiled. “Ow. Yes. I did not finish sleeping.” 

–          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           

Today, this Sunday morning, I finished all my sleeping and woke up, fully refreshed and extremely content. 

What a God-gift is good sleep! 

And another huge God-gift:  old friends.

Did you know that having warm, intimate relationships is the single most important factor to a happy life? 

Not a surprise.

Yesterday Jake and I hiked four miles with dear friends who live over the mountain from us. 

We don’t get to be with them often, even though we four are the founding members of the AHC, the“Agreeable Hiking Club” – of which I am the president, since it was my idea.  

So we shuffled through thick loud leaves on an old logging road and we talked about our kids and podcasts and books and stories from our pasts. We pondered together about our tomorrows and the diminishing of dreams as we age. And we marveled together at the long views seen through the newly-barren trees.

And then – and then! – we went to their house where my friend served a simple, scrumdilliumptious dinner that I will remember for a long time.  

I felt honored at that table. Loved and encouraged.

According to Dr. Heather Holleman, professor of writing and communication at Penn State, these are the elements of true connection: 1. Unconditional positive regard. 2. Mutual concern. 3. Curiousity. 4. Sharing stories.*

That was an afternoon of true connection.

–           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –          

This is Thanksgiving week in America, my favorite holiday.

On Thursday I plan to carry a pan of dressing, a bowl of broccoli, and a pecan pie over the mountain, back to that same table.

I look forward to another sweet time with them and her parents, with our daughter’s family, and some others . . . warm relationships all around. 

I thank God for wonderful things, like washing machines, and for great experiences, like good sleep and hiking. But I am especially grateful for His gift of connection: warm connections with family and friends, but Most of All, for connection with Jesus. 

 It is True. Deeply warm. And Forever.

Oh, I’m so grateful for Jesus, God’s greatest gift.

–           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –

*from “Six Conversations: Pathways of Connecting Again in an Age of Isolation and Incivility.”  by Dr. Heather Holleman.

12 thoughts on “God-gifts

  1. Dear Sarah, I love what you share here. You have been on my mind this past week. I do so thank God for your friendship and pray we can meet again soon. Thank you for what you have shared about friendship here. I am so thankful for every friend God has given you and me. Miss you!


  2. Dear Sarah, I was late reading this new blog. I loved the story of your washing machine, and invisioning you bopping back and forth in your pjs. And I loved the connection list — sounds like a really needed book for our times. Thanks for your encouraging stories and pointing to God always. Love, Mary Elizabeth


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