“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10
Psalm 143 is a prayer of David in which he asks for God to hear him as he laments his struggles. David asks God for guidance for the quickest way out of trouble and dangers and for his enemies to face defeat. And for this writing, the entire Psalm will help tell our story of the day. At first glance this reading may not seem appropriate as it relates to the relative ease by which we live our modern lives. Sara and I don’t face many instances of deadly foes or great enemy armies trying to relieve of us our lands (especially since we don’t have any!). Nevertheless, the prayer’s intention is applicable, if not the words themselves.
The day started out like our normal Tuesday. We dug holes for new eggs, cleaned out old nests, found new baby sea turtles, and did some clean-up. The usual ho-hum. Things took a bit of a turn though around lunch. I got assigned a tour for some folks from the UK wanting to learn some sea turtle lore while Sara sent the kids back across the street to get ready for our midday repast. Sara stayed back and helped clean up a few items so she could join me after the tour.
The kids could not have been home more than fifteen minutes without our supervision, though in kid time that is a seeming eternity. As Sara and I walked up to the volunteer home we overheard a fight which was escalating…rapidly. From the time we approached the front door to the time we got to the kids’ room, a mere 10 steps or fewer, everything had hit the fan. Literally.
A little background will help. Last evening the kids had a fight, shocker I know, about some mundane issue, shocking I know. I believe that the gist was that Luci was looking over Anjali’s shoulder while Anjali was doing something on her tablet. This irritated Anjali which caused her to yell at Luci which caused Luci to get angry and then kick or smack or do something to Anjali. This in turn caused Anjali to grab the mosquito net above her bed and swing it forcefully in the air. Unfortunately, in the middle of the room is a rather large ceiling fan with metal blades which happened to be rotating at full speed. The net hit one of the blades causing the fan to go on tilt temporarily and to send bits of chipped, rusty paint throughout the room. Fortunately the damage was minor, though messy, and a lesson was seemingly learned.
Until the next day at 12:30 that is when Anjali became enraged over another slight of “Biblical proportions” causing her to unlearn the part about swinging the net in the direction of the full speed fan. This time, however, the damage was marginally more significant. Rather, the fan blade bent completely in half, the mosquito net was torn, and the fan was now on full tilt and in danger of dislodging and falling. I’ll spare you the recap of the next hour which included stuttering, tears, screaming, and blaming going all around. Suffice to say that Sara and I were a tad miffed and were now considering whether we would indulge in the weekend safari plans now that our kids were losing their minds and we were about to lose money on a very unplanned expense of replacing the fan and net.
“Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.” As it was Tuesday, I was scheduled to go teach English again after lunch so we spoke with our hosts to ask where and when we could go find a new ceiling fan to replace the now defunct version. The plan was to go teach and then use the driver to run to the next town over to pick up both. Following another energetic day of teaching we were off to shop. Under advice from Dudley we were to look at the local hardware store for a specific brand which was of a higher quality. With Prasantha’s help I went in to the store only to find out that they didn’t carry that brand. The vendor’s suggestion was to try the next town down. 5-6 more kilometers.
“The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground…” Well, maybe not pursues me, but certainly crushes my hopes. Following a harrowing drive through the small town main street which was more reminiscent of India than Sri Lanka we arrived at store number 2. And yet again, no fan. “My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.” I was beginning to feel very frustrated and I was growing weary of apologizing to the other passengers in the van who were stuck on this odyssey for a fan. This shopkeeper recommended yet another store just a bit longer down the road and so off we went.
“Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Third time was sort of the charm. Despite not having the make and model that we originally sought, we finally settled on an acceptable alternative. Fan in tow we started the journey back to Kosgoda to pick up the new net and to get back in time to hang the fan before nightfall.
“In your unfailing love, silence my enemies…for I am your servant.” All in all, at worst the trip took much longer than planned but it was a success. The new fan and net were hung and the kids room was cooled off yet again. More importantly the kids heads were cooled off and the foes of anger, revenge, and frustration were silenced for at least one more day.
The enemies of today are less fearsome than those of the past, at least for our family. But the reality is that our enemies come from within and are often harder to defeat because they go unrecognized and can become too strong to overcome. Fortunately with God’s help and a great deal of patience even the mightiest enemy, be it anger, sadness, frustration, or annoying little sister, can be overcome with love and grace. To God be the glory on this day once more.