Monday, January 5, 2015


Mud. There has to be something I can be grateful for about mud.

My gum boots were covered in the dark muck as I hauled several buckets of copra to the horses’ feeding area. Every path, every patch of ground was a sucking, squishy swamp that was ready to swallow my shoes off feet in an instant. As we called the herd in from the pasture, the horses picked their way toward us carefully, testing each patch of ground, and some pinning their ears in reluctance, their legs suctioned to the ground.

In fact, it was not unlike my travels in Gulf Province where I experienced mud on a whole new level (let me tell you about that!). But this is Ukarumpa, our linguistic centre, and while it is the rainy season right now, which means we get daily downpours and mud is inevitable, still it’s hard to get used to.
Look at all that water! If I stood next to the waterfall and fence, it would be over my head. Normally you can't see any water from my window, but thanks to rainy season, we've been getting floods!

Come on, Catherine. Be thankful. What good is there about mud?

I stared at it, frowning.

“Well, I guess the grass looks that much greener next to it.”

Trekking through Gulf by Debbie Petterson
As I look back on the last year, I see a lot of mud-like events that are hard to be grateful for—multiple injuries and unresolvable health issues including “chronic fatigue syndrome” (the combination of which have resulted in this blogging silence of the last 6 weeks), tribal conflict around Ukarumpa resulting in evacuation of the horses, many transitions, goodbyes to family and friends, difficult village trips, being the victim of an armed robbery and assault (don’t worry, I’m fine), a hard-hitting betrayal, various job pressures and tensions and more.

They have been dark and squishy and have clutched at my legs and slowed me down until I’m too tired to move, and just when I think I’ve got myself cleaned up again, I find myself spattered with more.

But, next to the mud, the grass is so much more luxurious and brilliant than ever before. And this year has had its “green” moments too: amazing workshops, watching God reach down and touch people, beautiful friendships, precious time with family, opportunities to worship and serve all around the world and in ways that I never could have predicted. I suppose even the mud has been useful...after all, what’s better than calf-deep muck for teaching perseverance, focusing on one step at a time, and remembering to look up and keep perspective!

It does have its consequences; I’m really not sure how this year is going to unfold as I continue to puzzle through my exhaustion and health challenges and deal with the repercussions of the chaos of the last six months.

But I know where there’s mud, there will also be grass. And where there’s grass, (at least here in Papua New Guinea) there will be flowers. Maybe even wild orchids.

And that I can be grateful for!