Today I watched a video about the experiences of Egyptian immigrants to Nashville. Many of them were professionals in their home country – doctors, hotel managers, teachers, lawyers. But they can’t do those things here without getting a degree from an American college. So the majority of them work at Opryland Hotel. I worked with many of these families during my five years of teaching at Glenview Elementary. The Egyptian kids were precious. And happy. And intelligent. Their parents were ever-thankful. They were so appreciative of me. Many of them have forged a good life here. But none of it was without suffering and sacrifice. There are still families who have no transportation and walk an hour to church every Sunday. The children learn English at school, but the parents struggle to find places that offer English lessons. The immigrant experience is never easy.
Today I read about more violence in Egypt. It increases every day. Dozens of people are needlessly killed. This is crazy. Humans should not act this way toward each other. But it was happening, right when I drove my minivan to work and picked up my kids from their private school later. I didn’t have to fear for my life. I never have. I cannot imagine living that way.
Today Steven’s grandfather passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. I never felt like I got to know Pa England well because crowds made him anxious and he was a bit of a homebody. But every time we went to visit him, he gave me a big hug. I know Pa loved me, but most importantly, he loved my children, and he dearly loved Steven. He loved his family more than anything. A grandfather is one of those treasured people that you love in a way you almost can’t explain. His love is magical and he teaches you things that no one else can. I know that Steven will always have fond memories of his Pa.
It takes one day . . . to realize how thankful you are to be alive, how important the people in your life are, and how blessed your life is.