So today is Palm Sunday a very special day for those of us who know Christ. This is the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of our Lord and Savior as He rides into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling the prophecy found in Zech. 9:9.
In Luke 19:33-34 we read about the disciples going into the village and asking specifically for the colt that has never been rode upon. When the owner asks the disciples why they want this colt they simply say, “The Lord needs it.” and the owner allows them to take it.
We typically try not to fly on Sundays for obvious reasons however it is today, Palm Sunday that Amal needs to get to Houston for an important appointment early the next morning. So as the owner of the colt released it to the disciples because the Lord needed it, we as servants of Grace on Wings must go today because our sister Amal needs to go. I honestly cannot think of a better way to celebrate this significant day than by serving and loving on Amal and her family.
As I mentioned Amal needed to get to Houston for a second opinion about the cancer that has plagued her body. Traveling along with her today are her husband of 30 years Peter and their youngest son 26 y.o. Sami. Having battled this cancer for several years I must say Amal looked like your typical cancer patient. However after spending only a short time with this family my focus was no longer on Amal and her illness but on the sweet picture of love and care this family showed for one another. That is what I would like to share with you.
Amal came from a small country around Dubai to the U.S. as a young woman several years ago. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and it was here that she met her precious husband Peter 7 years her senior. Peter was and continues to be a physics professor at the University. Sami loves to share this story of how his parents met, she a student and he the professor all the while leaving out that Amal never took a class from Peter. Sami gets a chuckle out of watching the faces of people as he omits this fact making their love story seem a bit more scandalous. I must say we too shared in the laughter as we figured it out as well.
As Peter tells it when he saw Amal she was the most beautiful women he had ever seen. When Amal met Peter she said, “now there is a man who needs my help.” And so began their love story. Amal finished her degree and became a high school math teacher. The two married and were blessed with 2 very bright sons one an anesthesiologist on the east coast and Sami who has put his studies for his Phd. on hold in California to be with his parents.
I learned from Sami that as a young man in his 20’s Peter began to suffer from a rare form of degenerative glaucoma. Over the years his sight has become progressively worse to the point where since about 10 years ago he has become completely blind. This was also about the time that Amal began her battle with cancer. Peter now depends on Amal to help assist him with many of his daily needs from simply just walking from place to place to transporting him to work. Although he cannot see he senses the presence of Amal and dotes over her continually. As we flew the two of them held each others hands never once letting go. Peter often would ask, “how is my sweetheart doing? are you comfortable?” Amal asked us several times to check on Peter for her as well. She shared with us that she used to just want to be able to see her sons graduate but now that that has come and gone she would like to see her grandchildren. (Don’t we all find ourselves contemplating this kind of bargaining with God at some point in our lives?) When I asked Sami how long he would be able to stay he said at least 3 months but as long as his parents needed him. It was evident that they were his priority. Witnessing the care and compassion they all had for one another was a wonderful reflection of how we are all called to be imitators of Christ ( 1 Cor. 11:1)
Once we landed in Houston it was a beautiful 80 degree day and I felt as though I had known this family much longer than only 3+ hours. As we said our good-byes on the tarmack between huge gusts of wind we prayed for a positive outcome for this family and thanked God for the opportunity to spend this time with them.
Sometimes we tend to see the negative in a situation and we don’t look any further, maybe it is human nature, I don’t know. However I am sure that if we look deeper there is most definitely always a positive. What if I had only focused on Amal and her cancer I would have never gotten to know her story and her family. Make no mistake there is always someone or some situation much worse than that which we find ourselves in.
I find myself more of a “glass half full” kind of girl but I know not everyone is like that. Don’t get me wrong I have my moments of negativity but in general I would much rather look for the positive. How about you? Would you describe yourself as a “glass half full or glass half empty” kind of person? How would others describe you? Are we looking to see Jesus not only in others but in every situation? Jer. 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
How often throughout our day are we selflessly looking to the needs of others? Our days can become so busy and we can become so self- centered that we can very easily miss opportunities to put others first. Even if for one day lets stop and look beyond ourselves and beyond our own circumstances. How about the first person you look up and see after you read this? Phil. 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.
As always thank you to Hal and Lisa for allowing me to share in this mission.
To Him be all glory, honor and praise.
Shelli Engle RN