I am a thankful person by nature. Life can throw unexpected curve balls, and often I neither like nor understand when things go wrong. But I have learned to be thankful, even through the dark times. This past year has presented many unpleasant changes for my family. My dad's illness and loss of mobility and diagnosis of bone cancer, the devastating loss of my job, and all the emotional and financial effects of that. Things that make no sense and are simply not understood. Yet today, we remain thankful for all of our blessings. My dad is an amazing rock star patient, and has rehabbed to an almost full recovery, is walking some with a cane, very mobile with a Rollator, driving the car, and has even cut grass several times. AND just yesterday he had a great report from the oncologist that cancer markers continue to decrease! He is whooping cancer's butt!! He has had no unpleasant effects from the chemo, and has not had to add any further chemo agents to his regimen, (which would have been the kind with bad effects.) Being unemployed for four months allowed me to take care of my parents, help out with a seriously ill uncle, and spend time with my cousin and help her pack up for a move across the country. I was hired by an awesome oral surgeon, working with a fabulous group of co-workers, and I'm very happy there. I never thought I could have another job that I would like better than the one I lost, but this job is very well suited to me, with a much better compensation/benefits package as well. To say we are thankful on this day is an extreme understatement. We are beside ourselves with thanksgiving to our family, friends, and to Yaweh God for all that He has brought us through
If you don't get the Barrow News, here's a copy of my article for this week. It echoes my thoughts above, but it never hurts to hear messages on thankfulness more than once.
A THANKFUL HEART
Before the Halloween candy had disappeared, the shopping malls were putting out Christmas decorations, and small towns were hanging their holiday lights, preparing to usher in the season. Christmas ads on TV seem to come earlier each year, and bell-ringers start standing outside the stores in mid-November. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas up in here…. And we still haven’t had Thanksgiving!
At church on Sunday, the pastor asked us to reflect back to this time last year, and think about all that has changed since then. My family has endured some difficult times since last Thanksgiving. My dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, after a catastrophic pathological fracture in his spine rendered him unable to move his legs. After surgery to decompress the spinal cord and several weeks in rehab, he was able to return home, where he continues to recover.
During this time I lost a job that I loved, and was unemployed for four months. Losing a job at my age, with a 40-year career in healthcare, I felt my choices at starting over were limited. It was a very depressing time, facing both my dad’s illness and the desperation of finding work. Only in retrospect was I able to see that losing my job could be a positive thing. I stayed busy, attending doctors’ appointments with Mom and Dad, visiting Dad in rehab, and helping out at their house. Also during this time I was able to stay at the hospital with my aunt, when my uncle was very seriously ill. My cousin was packing up her house for a move to Arizona, and I was able to spend lots of time with her before she left, and packed lots of boxes while she worked. An extra bonus was spending time with the grandkids during the summer. God’s timing is always perfect. I was hired at a great office, and I’m very happy there. My first day at the new job was also the first day the kids started back to school.
For my family, it’s Thanksgiving every day. We rejoice at the progress my dad has made. He is able to walk short distances using only a cane, and for longer distances using a Rollator. He has been driving for a month or so, and even cut grass a time or two. His cancer markers have trended downward, and there have been no side effects from the chemotherapy. We are so thankful. My job is awesome, and is better in so many ways than the one I lost, and for that we are thankful.
There’s a saying that goes like this: “It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” I’m sure that there are many happy people who are thankful, but I know that being thankful goes a long way to ensure happiness. A very special man I know recently told me that he doesn’t celebrate holidays. He lived most of his adult life in prison, and he is just thankful to be alive, and to be free. He lives each moment as though it is his last, and is thankful to God to be free from prison, thankful for his clemency, and thankful for having his very basic needs met. As a former convicted murderer, armed robber, ex-convict, cancer survivor with a heart problem, his life would seem abysmal to some. But because of his past, he is thankful for every day that he is allowed to live, and to serve God and other people. That, my friends, is a truly thankful person. And he is a happy person.
My wish for you is a thankful heart, not only for this week, but for each and every day.