Learning Gratitude {Miss November}

November 18, 2013

On Wednesday mornings, around 9am, you’ll usually find me at the local craft market. This is a market that is catered to tourists and sells anything from colorful necklaces, decorations made from wood, swords, and local artwork. The women (and a few men) who work here don’t normally create the products themselves – they simply purchase it for resell in their “stores”. There are dirt floors, naked children, goats, a few chickens, and lots of people just sitting…waiting to sell something to the next “vazah” (foreigner) who comes by. The sellers know me and are aware that they will see me multiple times a week, yet they still try to get me to purchase something every time I walk up.

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However, I am there to see my friend Luxia. Her storefront is in the back corner, and I can see her peeking around the corner, probably because my foreign Malagasy dialect can be heard loud & clear over all of the nationals. She waves me back, shakes my hand, & kisses both cheeks twice…even though she knows I’m not French and that I’d much rather just give her a hug. It’s part of their custom for the foreigners and it is more of a reflex than anything else.

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For over a year now, we have been meeting. We discuss the Bible, my testimony, her testimony, what she believes, what I believe, and so on and so forth. She has been a gift to me for more than one reason but mainly because of her patience and encouragement as I struggle through the Malagasy language. On this particular day, we are discussing the story of Adam & Eve. I ask her what we can learn about the nature of man through this story. She remarks, “ God had given them so much, yet they still chose to not listen to what He said.” I agree with her and she goes on, “Yes, I am the same way” (she motions around her humble shop) “He has given me so much and I still choose on some days to not listen to Him.” I didn’t speak. I just nodded and finally found the words to say that I too often fall into the same sin. We continued to talk about the story and after a promise to see her again soon – I left.

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Walking out of the market that day, it was like I was seeing everything with new eyes. I saw the literal poverty I was walking in, that my friend had just referred to as “so much”.

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Luxia is an educated woman. She knows that there are people in town who are more “well to do” than she is – but none of that was brought up. She simply stated that she knew God had given her “so much”. We are talking about a lady who buys what she needs for lunch, for her family the morning before she cooks it. She goes back to the market for dinner supplies after she sells things in her shop in the afternoon. The word “budget” wouldn’t be in her vocabulary. It would make no sense…she doesn’t have a pantry of supplies, there is no “stocking up”.

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I was humbled that day by her gratitude that existed in the midst of a life that I could find much to complain about. She confirmed again for me that gratitude has nothing to do with how much we have of something…it has everything to do with how much we seek to see His grace in every moment.

 

*You can read more from Nickolee at her blog, On the Journey.

Emily White November 18, 2013 at 10:24 am

Wow. So excited to have read this today! Looking forward to reading more, Nickolee!

Kayla White- Mississippi Mrs. November 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

This is a great post, thanks for sharing with us!

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