“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—-every, every minute?” –Thornton Wilder, Our Town
I recently discovered a blog written by a young woman with an extraordinary story.
She has a severe auto-immune disease that attacks all of her joints, as well as her spine and her neck and lives in constant pain. She is permanently confined to the home and due to the fact that she is also allergic to almost everything, she cannot even open the windows of her condo.
But don’t pity her. Her attitude is absolutely amazing, as evidenced by the following: “Bottom line, people, I am filled with joy. I am blessed because I take nothing for granted. I love what I have instead of yearning for what I lack. I choose to be happy and I am. It really is that simple, people. Start everyday by being thankful and celebrate your life.”
I could not get this lady out of my mind as I went about my day.
My thoughts turned back to 2005 when I had to have back surgery. I was in tremendous pain beginning in January of that year and it took until June to obtain a proper diagnosis. The surgery was scheduled for a month and a half afterward. I was on heavy medication just to be able to function and my world became very small. It consisted of being in my bedroom and going to church one night a week. That was it.
I will never forget the sheer exhilaration I felt the first time I was able to go out after the long recovery from surgery. My family and I went to CiCi’s Pizza for dinner and I could not stop smiling.
I was out! With people! Able to walk without pain! I was healthy!
I loved every second of that evening…the fact that it was all so wonderfully ordinary was beautiful.
That time forever changed me. I rarely take anything for granted anymore, especially not my health.
Yet, no matter how we try, sometimes it is easy to forget how blessed we truly are. Reading this woman’s blog caused me to see my life through new eyes. To know that I have the freedom to walk out my front door is amazingly liberating. I can feel the grass under my feet, the sun on my skin, the breeze blow through my hair. I can get in my car and go to the store…or take a hike…or visit a friend…or attend Thursday night ladies Bible study at my church.
The day I discovered this blog was a busy one. My son and I went to gym early that morning (he is training for the 5K’s he will be running this summer while I am just trying to keep this 46 year old body of mine in decent shape!). As I worked out, I rejoiced in the fact that all of my limbs work, that I can see and hear, that I am pain-free, that my heart and lungs are strong.
Later that afternoon, my daughter had volleyball camp at the beach. I drank it all in…there was so much beauty everywhere I looked:
I took so much joy in watching my girl jump, spike, and serve, her red hair highlighted by the sun and the sound of her laughter mixing with that of her teammates and coach. Thank You, Lord, for the sheer gift of healthy children.
That evening, Josh had a concert in the park. It was a beautiful summer night and there was so much to see:
The band’s joyous music filled the summer air, transforming an ordinary Wednesday evening into a celebration… and my soul sang.
John Calvin once described nature as God’s “glorious theater.” I couldn’t agree more.
So today, as you go about your day…rejoice that you have the freedom to leave your home. Open your eyes to the beauty that is all around you. Choose to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Celebrate the big and little joys. Live!
“Just as every day brims with Your beauty, my mouth brims with praise.” —Ps. 71:8 (The Message version)