December 28, 2010
December 14, 2010
December 10, 2010
December 02, 2010
November 23, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
Sir James Basswood Yaardley III, 9th Earl of Hampshire, empowered to speak on behalf of her Imperial Majesty, the Queen Empress Victoria,
Shanghai, November 13, 1880
Dear Respected Person,
A tragic and horrifying event has taken place at the St.Joseph’s Mission in the village of Xiao Dongxi, Zhejiang Province. A priest was found brutally murdered. With regards to the investigation of this incident, you have certain personal vested interests in seeing that the matter is settled “properly”.
This incident has led to grave and exaggerated misunderstandings between the Majestic British Empire and the Imperial Qing Court of China.
In the interest of preventing war and promoting peace and international goodwill, I, James Basswood Yaardley, have been sent to Shanghai to investigate this atrocious event. You, Honoured Person, are invited to attend a dinner party on Her Majesty’s own yacht on the night of December 31. 2010, beginning promptly at 9:30 pm.
Refusing to attend will cast immediate suspicion on your person, and on your ancestors for generations to come. Please confirm that you will be in attendance with my dear wife, Baroness Hedwig of Bremerhaven, at your earliest possible convenience. You will be briefed as to how your are connected to this crime within two weeks before the dinner.
Most Respectfully Yours,
Sir James Basswood Yaardley III, 9th Earl of Hampshire
That's right! James and I are writing a murder mystery for New Year's Eve. So far we are having a darn good time of making it up! The plot is very mysterious indeed and we have a wide spread of characters. If we could, we would invite more people, however it is already very complex to write a plot for 15 people!
Here's a little taste of our characters! We have a Cardinal sent by the Vatican to investigate the incident. We have a traditional Chinese doctor. We have a Formosan pirate. We have a US Martial. We have a Taoist monk, a peasant washer woman, an American opera singer, and even the Empress Dowager of China herself!
Who done it?
November 12, 2010
November 09, 2010
Later it says, "For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone."
I felt a lot of discontent after I wrote the last blog entry. Something about it really bothered me. I felt like I had betrayed something in myself. The Doctor told me that I can have my life back and my instinct was to then go and look for a new life instead of waiting and trusting.
Just because I have "time" now, doesn't mean that I should go about trying to fill it up. What is the purpose of that? It my time fills up naturally and I can handle it, then that is okay. However I don't want to go looking for things to do, even if they seem like really good things. For example, a really "good" way for me to spend my time would be visiting hospital patients. But even the thought of that makes me tired, because my heart would not be in it.
I think that this is a time where God has called me to wait and to be patient, to be silent. Not a depressed silence, but an accepting silence. I don't want to just resign myself to this season of silence and less stimulation than I am used to. I want to accept it gracefully, and wait for the hand of God to make whatever changes he wants to make in me.
These verses above say that it is a good thing to wait for God in silence when we are young and that God even lays periods of silence upon us. The problem is that we young'uns really like to be busy! Who has time to wait? If serious constraints are laid on us, then we think we ought to resent them.
Instead of filling my time (just for the sake of it) and ruining the silence in which God speaks, I want to wait and see what he says. I believe he knows the desires of my heart and knows what kinds of ways I would like to spend my time, what kind of work I would like to do. But if I rush into something, I'll miss out on the silence.
This isn't to say that I would turn down great job opportunities or meaningful ways to spend my time now. But it is to say that I want to embrace the silence, however long or short it lasts. As to how to spend my time or what work to do... we'll look at each opportunity as they arise.
As a last note, I suspect that this posting is a little convoluted and difficult to follow. I apologize!
November 05, 2010
Of course this is good news, but it does leave me feeling a little lost. Resume my life after so many months of being told to take precautions? The life I had before this doesn't really exist anymore. I can't resume that life, as ideal and pleasant as it was. Truth be told, I'm puzzled and a little angry to be told to resume life after the roller coaster we've been on.
I am very seriously considering looking for some type of paid employment, but I'm not sure what is open to me. "Having my life back" brings up more questions than answers, and I find myself more anxious than I have been for weeks. Its not that I enjoyed being an "invalid", but at least then I knew which doors were open and which ones were closed. I suppose it is easy to put your faith in "knowing", even if that knowledge is not very good. I suppose I just need to get used to the fact that I will never "know", and put my faith in God... yet again.
October 30, 2010
October 19, 2010
Obviously I don’t have the benefit of taking a readership pole, but the question that I imagine many people have is, “Why does she always talk about faith?”. I imagine people asking this question because I have asked it of myself. The only reason I can think of is that in Bible tells us to focus our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen because what is unseen is eternal.
If for no other reason, I fix my eyes on what is unseen because I can’t bear the burden of my “seen” everyday life. I can’t even begin to describe that feeling I get, when in the space of a few minutes it feels like someone has laid a lead vest on me and weighted it down with anvils. I won’t try to describe the feeling, because I think everyone has their own experience of this. For me, this usually happens daily at about 3:00 in the afternoon.
I CAN’T look at what I see, because what I see is terribly depressing. So I MUST look at the unseen, and that requires faith. Not flash in the pan faith, but a daily faith to believe that what is unseen really is true.
As some of you may have seen from the comments on the blog, a church leader recently gave a sermon using portions of my blog as illustrations. He sent me a copy of his sermon, and one evening alone by myself, I listened to that sermon. I felt that he put together a wonderful message and that he represented my thoughts well.
However, there was another interesting side effect of hearing that sermon – for the first time, I saw my writing through other people’s eyes. I couldn’t believe that the words I shakily type when I sit alone with my computer, come out sounding so full of faith. I sound so darn certain of myself in the face of this trial! I found myself thinking, “Who is this Jessica Frey? I really need to meet her and talk to her.” But nobody sees me when I lay on my bed and stare at the wall. Nobody sees how easy it is for me to give in when the pain gives my heart a good twist several times a day.
You may ask yourself (as I do), what exactly is it that hurts so bad? But I have no answer to that. I can’t put my finger on it. It just does. So much has been lost.
In nutrition we talk about acute malnutrition and chronic malnutrition. Acute malnutrition occurs during times of natural disasters, war, etc. It is a period of intense food shortage that causes a child to become very skinny and bony, but after a time it ends. There are some serious impacts to a child’s body, but generally speaking for the long term, the impacts are reversible. With chronic malnutrition however, the child is deprived of food for such a long time that it actually stunts their growth and development. These effects cannot be reversed and for the rest of their life they will bear the inner and outer markings of that period of malnutrition.
I think faith can fall into these categories too (I know there are people who could blow holes in this analogy). There are many times in our lives when we are called upon to have intense faith for a shorter period of time. These times are important, but perhaps it is easier for us to “recover” or even sometimes to forget after these times. However there are other times when our faith needs to be more durable then it does intense. Durable, because there is a long stretch of wilderness ahead of us. We will bear the marks of this time for the rest of our lives.
In the beginning of this crisis, I think I had an intense faith. That intense faith was a gift from God. Nothing else would have been able to get me through those first few weeks. And in those first few weeks, I made a lot of big, bold statements. But now we are stretching into months. And just like the Israelites in the wilderness, I find that if I don’t get my manna from heaven each day, I’m a basket case. You can’t sprint the marathon. I still believe the big bold statements I have made, but let me tell you they are being put to the test of time.
These last few days have been especially hard emotionally, with James gone to Beijing. Not only is he where I want to be, he is NOT here with me. Even though he is coming back, I still have the sensation of having been stripped of yet another thing. I’m not saying this is true, but it FEELS like I have already been stripped of a future, stripped of my independence, stripped of having a future role in my children’s lives, and stripped of any meaningful occupation for my time. Having James away has stripped me of the only person who grown with me continually for the past six and a half years, and intensively grown with me in the last three months. All those things combined together makes me feel like one lonely individual.
What can faith do for me when I feel like this? I’ve been asking myself this question everyday. I think sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is that I have a deep desire to show God that I love him. When I could be complaining in the wilderness, I want God to look at me and see me thanking him for his goodness and telling him that I love him. After all, who demonstrates love better? Someone who gives a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day or someone who stays with you when it is easier to leave?
I want Jesus to know that I love him, so I want to sing for him when it would easier to scream at him. I’m not saying that I should squelch the desire to scream (I have screamed). What I am saying is that I want to seize the opportunity give something to God when it actually costs me something. For me right now, this is faith.
October 15, 2010
October 12, 2010
Yes, soil, that four-letter word. No surprise to find that James is writing this post, and not Jessica (although I've persuaded her that soil is actually interesting).
I really like soil, with all of its complexities. I won't get into any of them here, or I may lose this audience faster than topsoil in a windstorm. However, I just wanted to bring up the subject, and perhaps get you thinking for a moment about how incredible it is that soil exists! A community under our feet.
Feel inspired yet? Go stick your nose in a garden! You won't regret it.
(And for any palm readers out there, yes, that is my hand.)
October 07, 2010
September 30, 2010
Three days off of radiation, two weeks off of chemo and I am already feeling a million times better than I was. My platelets are still low and we have yet to discover whether or not I will need a platelet transfusion. Now we wait to let my body recover in the next four weeks. After that comes another MRI and we find out what happened during the last six weeks and a new baseline for the future.
James and I have decided that we really don't care much about what the outcome of things will