Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Count Your Blessings Every Day
Count them every day.
I haven't posted much here over the past two years, coinciding with an increase in pain in my lower back and left leg. I didn't want to always be talking about it, because it seemed so selfish.
Even with back pain at a level that I've tried many strange (to me) but accepted medical procedures and untold numbers of pain shots directly into my back, and even with the stress of a demanding job, I KNOW that I am very blessed.
Lovely Wife of 26 years, two lovely daughters, family on both sides that love us and we love them.
A nice house, a job at a great company, dogs, a cat, a fish.
I keep waking up every day so far, and that in itself is the greatest blessing.
Counting my blessings, ie. thanking God every day for them in prayer, is one way that helps me keep from descending into a deep, dark pit of despair because of the grinding pain that never, ever lets up.
Counting my blessings reminds me that I have a good life and keeps both of my feet on the ground.
But today, I have to admit that things were getting to me a bit. Trying to perform my best at work. A training class and test, and the struggle of merely walking. (As I've said before, I literally have a finite number of steps I can take in a day before the pain in my left leg and back say, No More.)
My training class ended at lunchtime, so I came home to eat, and was just thankful for the nearly horizontal relief of my recliner for a few minutes with three dogs draped on me. (They're my Buds)
And on TV I saw a man who had been burned so bad when he was two in a gasoline can explosion that doctors didn't think he'd live. He has no real hands or feet, but he's grown now, a college graduate, thankful of his many gifts.
Oh, and he's an amazing drummer. He can grab one drum stick with the pincher-like claw that is his left hand, and uses a wrist sweat band with rubber bands to attach a stick to his right hand. Played an amazing drum solo.
I was sitting there, crying like I haven't in a long, long time, watching this man's joy, and you could truly see he was joyful, and begged God for forgiveness for allowing myself to have gotten down, hurting and tired by lunchtime.
The afternoon at work went OK, I made some progress on a self-guided training project at work, and I came home completely spent and really hurting, but I was not letting the pain get to me.
Then Lovely Wife gets an instant message from her first cousin's daughter, that the wife of another first cousin had died last night, Monday night.
Lovely Wife and I met while young and both living with our families in Monroe, Louisiana. A year or two after we had begun dating, her family took in one of Lovely Wife's first cousins, whose father had kicked him out.
Lovely Wife and I both were in college and working for a regional pizza chain when her cousin moved in with them in Monroe.
He later worked with me at the particular restaurant that I worked at, and eventually began dating a girl that worked there with us, a girl I had know from school in the Monroe area for five years or so.
They fell in love, and eventually moved back to J's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
The instant message that Lovely Wife received tonight (Tuesday) was that J's wife D had died on Monday night. She had a shortness of breath and died, they believe it was a heart attack at this point.
D was a pretty, sweet, and musically talented woman. As a teen she won two national singer/songwriter first place honors that I know of. Could sing and play guitar and sing as good as anyone I've ever heard.
I hadn't talked to D or J in years, time, distance and life in general took care of that.
But although I grieve for a lost friend who has passed, she was a year behind me in school, so that puts her at about age 45 or 46, I'm so glad that the last time I talked with her, she was beaming with happiness. She's become a Christian and tonight I praise God for touching her years ago, as no one could know she'd die so young.
My heart goes out to J, who is apparently crushed and despondent, from the sketchy news we got over the internet. I pray that he has found the comfort that becoming a Christian can provide, but last I saw him, he was not.
So I know that D is eating at the King's table in a place with no pain or sorrow.
I hope that if J hasn't found Jesus, that he might turn his heart over now.
And I've had two amazing reminders in this single day, that life is precious, it's short, and no matter what kind of pain, physical or mental, that we may be going through, every day of life is a gift, even in the middle of difficult times.
My older brother died at the age of 41, and with D's passing last night, I am reminded, yet again, that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, only the moment we're living in, so we must make the best of it, and choose to count our blessings every day and thank God for them.
We don't get a second chance at life, Every Day Is The Superbowl for all of us. We must try to make our lives count. To mean something every day.