I am feeling way too sick to join my precious daughter and my magnificent husband on today's road trip, but maybe I can use my few bits of consciousness well here. Before they departed, my husband brought me a cup of soy milk in a Christmas-y paper cup from Starbucks. The sight of the red and snowflakes caused happiness to bubble up in me inexplicably. A few minutes later, I realized the cup says:"Stories are gifts. Share." So here I am.
I woke up this morning with a memory on my mind. It was of a chilly Monday morning in New York way before I met Paul. Another English teacher, Dean, and I had recently started our own ESL school after getting frustrated with working long hours in a school that was only for Chinese and frequently didn't manage to pay its "highly esteemed teachers." Our school of course was tiny but we loved having a blend of the various cultures of the city gathering in the ballet studio we rented during weekday mornings. Dean and I had had a discussion on Friday about the fact that we really really needed to have tables for our classes. We had both gone into debt to start our little endeavor and were not going to make money anytime soon at the ridiculously low prices we were charging. There was just no way we could come up with money to buy tables. As we parted ways on Friday, I had said, "Just give me and my family and friends the weekend to pray on it." Dean, not a believer in any sense, had sweetly smiled and said okay.
So Monday morning I trudged through the snow, unlocked the ballet studio, and turned on the lights wearily. Set up neatly before me were three of what I always refer to as "fellowship-hall-tables," just waiting for our classes. The entire building was still dark at that hour (except for the little Dunkin Donuts at street level). I just kept walking around the room staring at the tables. at that point, Dean walked in the room and froze. I said, "I take it you didn't have anything to do with this?" He shook his head no and finally said, "I might have to think about all this God stuff differently if I keep working with you."
It turned out that the little Chinese newspaper office across the hall owned the tables, had used them in the ballet studio on Sunday, and had forgotten to take them down. Since we often helped them out with proofreading anything they wanted to publish in English, they were quite willing for us to use the tables whenever we wanted as long as we would take care of putting them away after our classes! To this day, I am overwhelmed to look back at all the grace pouring down over my life in moments like that.