Today I’m especially thankful for friendship and love — and migraines and Mary. Migraines, you might ask? Yes, I would answer. Those oppressive, nauseating headaches that make me want to sleep so I can’t feel them — or at least be in a dark room with no sound. I’m thankful because the last two times I’ve had a migraine, my physical suffering has resulted in blessing.
This morning I awoke with a headache. I still enjoyed my quiet time with God and went to the gym, but several hours later my headache was only worse. I thought, “I don’t have time for a migraine.” Plugging away at my computer, trying to get caught up from time away in Africa, it was the nausea that finally forced me to stop. I’m grateful I did; it was only then I remembered the wonderful, wise words of a friend the last time I’d had a migraine.
She had written: “I would ask as you receive and read this email, that you drop whatever you are doing and if possible walk outside, take a deep breath and let God’s unfailing love flow over and in you.” This occurred last Spring on a cold, blustery day. I had wrapped myself in a blanket and followed her instructions, walking in my backyard, taking deep breaths of God’s fresh air, and asking for His love to “flow over and in” me.
That’s a whole different story, but by the time I circled my yard, my headache was gone. Completely gone. I’d experienced not only “God’s unfailing love” (through, among other things, the sight of new buds on trees) but also what I considered a miraculous healing. Back to this morning in August, I thought I’d try the same remedy again.
Closing my eyes, inhaling God’s gift of air, slowly taking steps, my mind and spirit were transported back to Africa — to Emmanuel’s home, to exactly the spot where his 80-year-old grandmother had given me a bag of avocados. Sweet Mary could speak no English, but there was no need for translation; the gleam in her eyes and smile on her face said, “Thank you,” as she handed me the gift.
I learned that perhaps more than anyone else in Emmanuel’s family, Mary was grateful her grandson would be having surgery, and she thought I was the person to thank. On behalf of those truly responsible at CURE International, I accepted her gift with a hug. Her offering felt to me an expression of love in its purest form. I had also learned Mary’s husband had died; she was a widow giving all she had to give.
Walking in my backyard, I couldn’t help but think of the “poor widow (who) put in two very small copper coins” and Jesus’ praise of her act (Luke 21:2-4). With Mary I’d witnessed a similar gesture of love. Now thinking of that blessed moment, I was FEELING the love.
I realized my headache was gone. My migraine had been replaced with Mary! Through the memory of her gift, God’s love flowed “over and in” me! “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Before going to Africa, I had hoped God would show me August’s “Food-of-the-Month” while there; the moment I received avocados at Emmanuel’s, I knew He had! Sweet Mary gave me a food I already like to eat and serve to others, a heart-healthy “fruit” containing good fats, no sodium, zero cholesterol, and nearly 20 essential nutrients including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B Vitamins and folic acid.
I’m more than delighted to place avocados on our monthly pedestal!
Where Emmanuel and Mary live — near Kisumu, Kenya — avocado trees are a gift from God. I pray you and I, also, will view them as such, “opening” them as presents, enjoying them as treats on salads, grilled turkey burgers, or simply mashed as a healthy alternative to butter or mayonnaise on a piece of whole grain, whole wheat bread.
At www.avocado.org you will find MANY tantalizing recipes to try. (Just recently, I made “California Avocado Yogurt Key Lime Pie,” and it’s really good!!) But in my humble opinion, the best way to enjoy avocados is in guacamole, with family and friends. I took Mary’s avocados back to Kijabe to share with my new “sisters” Lauren and Ashley. As we savored Lauren’s famous guacamole, we talked and laughed so hard we cried — more precious memories for my migraine-free mind!
Avocados and love. They just go together.