Notes from Jan

Hope Land

September 14, 2016

The shuttle driver, an Ethiopian with an MBA, drove me from the Denver airport to Hyatt House.  He chatted away, welcoming, orienting me to the area, while practicing English.

Unlike some  drivers, he had no stash of $5 bills in the cupholder, suggesting all passengers give at least a tip of that amount.  He seemed content to do his job well.

Since I was the only passenger and traffic sluggish, I asked questions and he told his story.  His manners and answers spoke of an educated man.  I learned he came to this country with an MBA.  “Not so good with English, but it’s O.K. I know how to work.   America’s a good place. We call it Hope Land.”

The was Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

Those of us born in the USA, know we’re not free from  pain, suffering, injustice.  However, having met other refugees and recently read  Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, for our book club, I’m aware of the horrors many of us have been spared.

After trudging from dawn to dark thru a day that felt like it’d never end, I marvel at some closing thoughts from Ivan Denisovich Shukhov:

Shukhov went to sleep fully content. He’d had many strokes of luck that day; they hadn’t put him in the cells; … he’d built a wall and enjoyed doing it…and he hand’t fallen ill. He’d got over it.  A day without a dark cloud.  Almost a happy day.”

There’s so much for which to be grateful, even, and maybe especially on “almost a happy day” in Hope Land.





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  • Reply Randall K Mathews September 14, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Dear Jan:
    Missed you at the 9 o’clock. However, I did receive my usual hugs from Kate and Maggie at the passing of the peace. Apparently, they still feel that their Grandpaman smells nice! Always good to feel affirmed by the younger generation.

    Have a great visit with all your friends in Colorado and come back to Massachusetts, safe and sound.

    Randy for the Mathews

  • Reply wendy lane September 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    “He went to sleep FULLY CONTENT” – I am convicted, once again, of ALL I have to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Gail MacDonald September 15, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I so appreciate how you make an ordinary ride in a cab an experience of affirmation and being heard for the
    man who was your driver. And as Scripture says, “A generous person will prosper; he/she who refreshes others will himself/herself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 Don’t you know he went home that day and said, “I met a wonderful
    woman today – she cheered me!

  • Reply Nancy Sheys September 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    You are so right, Jan. We should always and in all circumstances be grateful for our blessings, even on days when it’s not so perfect. It’s a great way to begin the day! I don’t think we realize how blessed we are until we read, or better yet, hear it first hand, just how blessed we are. It’s so important to raise our children with that lesson. I’m afraid that it’s something that’s become unimportant in our culture.

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