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Patients

Is a patient someone who is patient or someone who suffers? Being patient often feels like suffering, so perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Children are uniquely positioned to instruct parents in the ways of patience. Parents must slow down, relax, refocus, refocusing expectations to those that will best benefit the child.

Teaching a child a game is a good example. The child has to listen patiently while the parent patiently explains how it’s going to go down. The child won’t like the idea of not being able to enter immediately into the game; the parent knows, however, that learning the rules makes for a better experience in the long run. After all, you have to know the rules before you can break them.

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Tripping Over a Verb

Here’s the story of how I tripped over a verb and fell into the arms of a 19th century Jesuit.

Well, now my work days are filled with pouring over every word in the book of Ezra while preparing translation helps. First every word in Hebrew (or Aramaic as some of Ezra would have it), then every word in French (at least two different versions) and then, of course, every word in my heart language, American. (I say “American” because my British friends weighted down by a perplexed look cock their heads to one side when I proudly announce that I speak English. “You do?!”)

This week was off to a rocky start when I met the form of a verb at Ezra 3:10 that I wasn’t expecting and couldn’t make sense of.

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets…

Builders, foundations, a temple (!), priests, vestments (!), praising the Lord…it all sounds amazing, doesn’t it? You’d never know by looking at Ezra in translation that behind the scenes lies a verb with big, pointy teeth.

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Weighted down by this Semitic perplexity, I ran to the grammarians. First, I had a look to see what my friends Bruce and Michael had to offer. Then, it was to the ageless patriarch Wilhelm. Finally, I found refuge in the arms of magisterial monsieur Paul–whose surname is fittingly enough a homonym in French for “Let’s play!” And with Paul’s grammar guidance I did play. Thanks for the invite!

He called the form I was struggling with “strange” and “abused.” O Paul, that verb isn’t the only one feeling discomfort. But what comfort I did find in the arms of this 19th century Jesuit. Thank you, Paul. Now I know that we’re in this together.

But why allow these pedantic pebbles to get in our translation shoes and give us aches and pains as we seek to make God’s word accessible?  For exactly that reason: to make God’s word accessible.

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Henry’s Third

Today our Henry celebrates his third birthday. In keeping with family tradition, Daddy has prepared a year in review video, showcasing the moments, attitudes, and dynamism of our little bruiser. Fittingly enough this third video retraces Henry’s tracks across three countries: Cameroon, England and the USA. What a year his third has been. Henry, we love you!

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Finding Out

I calculated: 12 weeks. I noticed that funny little pooch that I remember getting around 16 weeks the last time. But ah, I’ve been pregnant twice already and I’ve been eating everything and anything since I arrived from living in Africa. So, I put the pooch down to too much fish and chips.

“Are you good with surprises?” Rob asked me.  He was young I found out, 27, but the senior sonographer I later learnt.  We were already looking at one on the screen and he had pointed out a good strong heart beat.  I was in the process of breathing a sigh of relief, as all new expectant mothers do after enduring that time between peeing on the stick to seeing and hearing that first heart beat. Yeh, I’m good with surprises.

Oh goodie, I thought, he can make out the gender. Now, cut me some slack. I’ve just come from living in a place where most people don’t have running water–it’s like being stuck back in time. I didn’t know what advances had been made since I was last in the country. ;-)

I gave Rob a cheery thumbs up and said, “Great! What’s your surprise?”

“There’s two!”

Those words will forever ring in my ears.