Monday, October 17, 2005

I Am Truly Blessed

My life is so good, I don't deserve to ever whine about anything.

Not that I won't - I just don't deserve to.

I spent yesterday (Sunday) evening in the emergency room with my 5 year old son. He had fallen off his bed (a distance of about 2-1/2 feet), and broken his right arm about 3 inches from the wrist. Both bones. His arm was bent at that spot like an extra joint - I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about the sight of that.

Why am I blessed?

We live 5 minutes from the emergency room.
He was in a room, and getting pain meds within 15 minutes.
Good friends came to watch our other 3 sons so my wife could also come and be there for our son.
The bones were set (radius and ulna were both snapped, and needed to be realigned), cast put on, and we were out of there in less than 4 hours.
24 hours later, he is adjusting, and starting to act goofy again.

How does this make me blessed?

I am not Charles.

Each life will be visited by trajedy - often.
John Irving, in his book The World According to Garp, called it "the undertoad". We all live in a world shot through with undertoads. How we view them, how we respond to them makes all the difference.

I could look at my situation, and say "My son broke his arm! This stinks!! Thanks for nothing, God!!" I could focus on the trajedy, and never get over it. I could blame God. I could allow bitterness to ferment.

Or, I could look for the gold in the ashes - the evidence of God's redeeming work in the midst of trajedy. If you look, it is all around us. You can allow gratefulness to fourish.

Now, if I was Charles (go to the link, and pray for that man), I would probably not be feeling blessed right now. I would be wailing and railing at the evil injustice of it all.

But in time. Even in Charles' life, the gold will be revealed through the ashes.

Right now, the flames of trajedy are still burning hot for Charles and his daughter. But one day they will cool, and the gold will be there to be found.

Related subject:
A good, wise friend of mine recently gave me counsel based on the Old Testament, and the Isrealites.

In many of the writings of the prophets, God admonishes the Israelites for scorning the blessings he has provided for them, and looking longingly towards the foreign gods - the Baals.

My friend then made the connection with us - how we too often scorn the blessings we have been given, and long for something else: a new job, a new house, a new community, whatever. They're probably not really any better, just different - new! improved! reformulated!!

I am sooooo guilty of this. It's embarassing.
I have often commented on this blog how fortunate I am - this very post, in fact - and yet, I keep on looking for and longing for that new, different, "perfect" whatever.

Chasing after the wind.

Vanity. All vanity.

Dear Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom to see and appreciate the blessings you have set before me. May I bless you, and thank you. Help me to truly understand that one day in Your house is better than a thousand elsewhere. That you have given me bread, not stones. That you are my shepherd, and I shall not want.


AuntieJeanne 6:42 AM, October 22, 2005  

Counting our blessings is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, so I'm so glad you posted this. I also like the prayer at the end.

Sorry to hear about your son's arm, but at least it was nothing TOO serious and he will heal in time. These are things to be grateful for.

I am reading a book right now The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, and she lost both her husband and her daughter within 18 months of each other. We never know when life will throw us a curveball like that, but through our faith in God and acceptance that life is unpredictable, we must go on.

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