Finding Joy / by Ivor Karabatkovic

I've been looking forward to the day I was reunited with a dear family friend from my childhood in Germany. Sister Regine grew up as a refugee in Germany, then devoted her life to serving the Lord. She has never missed a holiday or birthday with letters or phone calls; praying for those she loves daily.

July 2016

July 2016

I have so many memories and stories to tell about our friendship- but I'll share a story she told me as we walked through a park this past Sunday afternoon (our first meeting in 11 years!).

Sister Regine was stationed in the small town of Au in der Hallertau when refugees from ex-Yugoslavia were taken in by Germany. The nuns served our families and tried their best to advocate for us. They organized locals to help with clothing drives, food, German tutoring, finding housing and jobs, and the list goes on.

"I remember the day we were told we'd be leaving Au. It was a dreary, rainy day, with thick rain clouds", she told me.

The priest asked the nuns to go for a walk and spend time alone with God somewhere in nature, then return with something that stuck out to them; a rock, a plant, a flower, a leaf.

She returned and the priest asked them to do the same tomorrow.

"I woke up and it was a really cloudy day. I prayed to God, "Father, the last few days have been hard. If you could please give me a ray of sunshine today, it'll make me feel better."

She went on her walk that afternoon. There was no sunshine to be found anywhere. As she walked home, she saw light coming from behind her.

"I turned around, and it's as if the clouds were ripped open right on the horizon! There was the red sun, clearly shining!"

"Here I was, praying for single ray of sunshine, and God gave me the entire sun" she said and laughed. 

In Life Together, German Theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer shared a truth that we often forget to acknowledge.

We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thank you for checking back in with me. Let's look to be mindful of the present and give thanks for the ordinary moments we often overlook.

Ivor