Today in this post I would like to give some props to a close friend of mine named Jennifer Reid, who I knew before she was married, when she was dating my best friend at the time. For some time we had discussed the possibility that I might have to leave Thailand quickly and had set up some contingency plans. As it happened, this morning I had to use those contingency plans, and I did not have a great deal of notice in doing so. Between about 11:30AM and 5:30PM (Thai time) I had to find a new place to live in the United States, and start to arrange planning for the Feast of Tabernacles on no budget, a complete and total disaster .
The causes of this disaster are not terribly complicated. They result from one particularly troubled relationship, with a person capable of charming others, and decision-making that short-circuits the Matthew 18 process for conflict resolution and that does not even inform others of what complaints others have against them. At any rate, this problem is no longer mine to deal with. Despite the bad timing and the insanely limited resources, there is a fresh start, and opportunity to start again, and the knowledge that one has friends to encourage and motivate.
I hope that she does not mind my praise, but my friend Jennifer really stepped up to the plate, offering the couch in the home of her and her husband, providing the street address for google maps, some websites to start looking for work (which will be necessary very soon), along with the local congregational website so that I could inform the pastor that they will have a very sudden and unexpected visitor. I am very grateful for the speedy help and information, as in moments of action I prefer to have information and something able to do to make my situation (as bad as it is) at least a little more manageable. To be put into such a situation is terribly ungracious, but God does provide help and encouragement to His people in times of trials.
So far in my life I have spent a great deal of time on both sides of generosity. I have spent a great deal of blood and treasure, and made great sacrifices to serve others both near and afar. Sometimes those deeds have been recognized and appreciated, and sometimes not. Sometimes other issues get in the way, those problems of personality that I seem so expert in. On the other side, I have been a person who has frequently needed the help of others in housing, transportation, even food at times because of my own limited means at particular crisis periods of my life. As a result of being both a giver and a receiver of generosity, I have learned how not to be ashamed to ask for help when it is necessary, and how to give help happily without making others feel ashamed. If only everything could be so pleasant.
And it happens again that due to circumstances at least somewhat beyond my control, that I once again have been placed, on the eve of the Feast of Tabernacles, in a position of great need. Thank God I have good friends. As it happened, during the course of my writing this entry one of my other good friends who will be attending the Feast in Bend, Oregon offered a ride to the Feast from Portland, which will at least make that easier. Even after so much time away, it is good to know that friendships can endure, and that my friends can and will respond in a helpful and cheerful manner to my severe emergencies. At least that makes such trials easier to endure cheerfully.