Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give thanks with a grateful heart

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I've been doing some ruminating lately.

And it has rendered me overwhelmed this morning by all I have to give thanks for: 

My right eye is functioning as well as my left - and the time without both eyes functioning taught me to give thanks for those things that still work, for the days with less pain, for the days with small joys, not just big ones.

Because of the bizarre eye paralyzation, more intense MRIs of the brain were performed which have provided the assurance that there is nothing growing or destroying my brain cells - a comfort when the headaches are blinding and the thoughts of glioma, a common cancer with CFIDS, come rushing in.

My brother survived a serious 911 emergency.  He had just installed a security front door and neglected to give me the key.  I knew he had fainted, had been vomiting for a long while, had split his forehead open with the fall, and did not have the strength to even crawl to a door to let us in.  The firemen had to break the picture window in his bedroom to gain entry.

Later that morning I remembered I did have the key to his back door.

The next day, he remembered I had the key to his back door.


But he is alive and well, the last remaining member of my "growing up" family.  And I am very,very grateful.

My sister-in-law, who makes my days possible, who looks out for me, drives me to appts when I don't feel good, cleans the house, does the dishes,and is generally my caretaker, is also doing well.

The house is paid for, we don't have to worry about foreclosure - just the maintenance and the HOA.

My Norwegian Forest Cat, Katrina, now middle aged at 7 years old, has recently begun to mellow, and will, on rare occasions, allow me to pick her up for a brief cuddle.  She also will allow me to pet her while standing on occasion.  This is the cat who firmly believes, after having been showered with love and attention for 7 years, that I have been planning all this time to kill her - but only while standing, and certainly if I bend down to pet her.  Accordingly, she runs under the bed, which is where she lived for her first 3 months here.

She stays at arms length and one inch beyond it.  She won't let me near her when she has something stuck in her mouth.

I took my complaints about her to my Eternal Papa and He said,

"She is just like you."


"For days you keep Me at arm's length - you go about your business and push me to the back burner of your life.  When You have something dangerous or something that won't go down stuck in your craw, you won't let me catch you, either, and insist on carrying it alone when my eternal arms are underneath you, ready to hold and comfort.  You're just like Katrina."

Oh. (a little throat clearing here while I search for a way to change the subject.)

The only thing that comforts me about this is that Katrina doesn't let me out of her sight.  She follows me faithfully and has to be within sight of me.  I hope that applies to my walk with Jesus as well.

And it makes me thankful for her.

When I look back at the last 24 years of illness, I can find much to be thankful for there, too.  It allowed me to be home for the last years of my mother's life, and a chance to get to know my youngest brother who died at age 45.  I have a mild case of  CFIDS - I can still read, on good days I can go somewhere, I have dear friends who don't forget me, and my doctor doesn't withhold pain medication, which many doctors have begun to do.  Withholding of pain medications is one of the chief causes of suicide in those with CFIDS - the DEA has begun to crack down on "drug pushers" in the medical professionn.  Unfortunately, they include chronically ill in the groups that use too much pain medication.  So far the Lord has protected me from that - another huge reason to be thankful.

Some very dear friends of mine have both had life-threatening illnesses in the last 2 years.  Things seem to be almost healed there and I am so very grateful.

I was able to go to a watercolor journal class - the first artsy fartsy thing I've been able to do in a couple of years, and I was able to attend both days.  I got to see my great-nephew for his birthday and go to one of my favorite restaurants in the California town I came from.

I had my first Starbucks confection  ever (the Peppermint lured me in).

I have a Pastor who is not only a great exegeter and teacher, but a tender-hearted man who daily seeks ways to be the Father's hands, to comfort, to shepherd his flock with a great tenderness - and a wicked sense of humor that not only keeps his sermons from getting boring, but communicates deep truths with it as well.

But mostly I am thankful for Philippians 4:13, for Romans 8:1 and a million and one other verses that comfort and call to courage under fire.  God gave us His Word to guide us, speak to us, warn us, teach us, and lead us to a relationship with Him that, truly, makes life worth Living, and the capital L is intentional. My great-niece described her life as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and I think that is a perfect metaphor for this life. The warnings the ride carries are also worth noting when the bottom drops out and you are screaming in seeming free fall - keep your seat belt on, don't try to stand up while the car is moving, and keep your hands inside the car.

I pray your Thanksgiving will bring with it much joy and leave you with many wonderful memories - and an uncountable amount of things to be thankful for.

God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments: