Today is Monday, June 3, 2013 (our 9 month anniversary as missionaries)
I realize that there are many of my family (actually all of my family) and friends that have been on their knees pleading to the Lord for me. This is a most humbling prospect. Most are wondering, or will wake up later and wonder, “How is Greg doing?”
It is just after 5:00 am here after another long night. I do not know why the nights are so hard, but it seems with so many challenges in life, the night is associated.
I am thinking of that long night that our Savior was tortured and suffered in the hands of cruel oppressors. Then there followed the three nights of darkness and despair, after his death.
But then comes the morning. As the first rays of light break forth, there seems to be more than just a sunrise, it brings hope and renewed courage. Oh the joy, when in the morning, Mary and the others were able to declare, “He is risen!”
A favorite poem of mine, by William Ernest Henley, was used recently in the movie that was given the same name: Invictus.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
For a disciple of Christ, as I am seeking to be, this poem has conflict. It is the age-old struggle between Pride and Steadfast Endurance. I know that I should be able to withstand the tribulations of this life with an unbowed head that may be bloodied without giving into the oppressor’s purposes, which is to cause me to become discouraged, and to give in and give up.
On the other hand, am I really the Captain of my Soul? If, as John Val john sang, “I gave my soul to God long ago” then I must learn to rely on Him and His will, and set aside my own personal desires and comforts. I must rely on him, not myself and my personal abilities to withstand “the heat of the day” because, alone, we will all fail, eventually.
Every mother that has sat with a sick child through the night knows the joy of the morning’s first light. Francis Scott Key was inspired by that same idea as he eyed the Stars Spangled Banner at Fort Henry, after a long night of battle. I am feeling that right now.
So, Greg, how are you today? This will be the question that I will be asked, or it will be asked through Debi. My answer is, “Greg is fine, but his body is still sick, but it is morning, and with the new day comes new hope.” I could give more clinical descriptions, but that is not necessary.
Thank you for your love and concern. I am sorry if I am digging deep into my soul and posting my feelings, but along with the one, I must share the other. Sometimes I just cannot be funny.
I want to truly give myself (and my soul and body) to God. I have dedicated it full time to his service, and I have gained some insight into what he wants me to do, so for that, this sickness is a blessing. I have also had an experience that few Senior Missionaries get to have, and, after all, one of the purposes of this life is to gain experience.
I will get better. The medications are taking their effect. The doctors are competent and concerned and Debi is ever faithful.
I hope to go back to work slowly this week. We have a lot to do, but I will take it easy. One of the great infrastructure needs of West Africa is an effective waste disposal system. Right now, I share that need with “Mother Africa!”
Thank you all, again, for your faith and prayers.
Love, Elder Greg Haws