In some ways, after years of being chronically ill, I have found myself becoming s somewhat cynical of the world around me. It is not something I set out to do, and it is an attitude I try to repress, but years of discouragement and disappointment take their toll.
Friendships that you thought would last a lifetime come to a quiet end as life for them continues and you remain an frustrated prisoner of pain. Caught up in the excitement of a big new world begging for them to explore, the idea of visiting an old school chum locked in time soon loses its appeal. Thoughts of that old friend are replaced with the joy of reaching new milestones such as graduating from college, getting the first job, dating, marrying, buying a home, and having children. And without meaning for it to happen you have been reduced to a memory entitled “What was her name again.”
For years, in between my bouts of debilitating pain, I have been quietly writing. Creating folders of poetry, short stories, and even a book that sit quietly on my bookshelves waiting for the rare occasion when I would pull them off the shelf and read them. And that is where I expected them to stay all the days of my life gathering dust and growing yellow with age, because I had no idea how to share them with the world.
For the past two summers all I could think about is how much I want a pool. My Father has not been to well the past couple of summers so I have had to help him mow the lawn. The early part of the summer, while not fun, was not so bad, but by June as the temperatures soared into the nineties, the only way I could manage a step was by imagining the fun of floating lazily in the refreshingly cool waters of my own pool. Day after day I imagined, I hoped, and I dreamed of the relief of splashing around in those cool waters that would help to relieve the aching of my weary bones.
Sadly as much as I longed for one, I knew there was little hope of attaining my wish as a few minutes of dream crushing research revealed their steep price. But if a permanent pool is currently out of the question, what about a temporary above ground pool. Considering that a 15X4 foot pool can be $300 dollars I could at least hold some type of hope for buying one.
Last week I wrote about how the ants had infiltrated my garden box and infested it to the point that my family and I had to take down one of our man made garden boxes because there were so many and they were causing my little dog Happy Go Lucky problems. He was getting so many bites that he was experiencing reactions to them that left him miserable.
To add to Happy’s misery, it seems that Happy is in the process of developing arthritis. We noticed that over the past few weeks he has been having more and more trouble jumping up unto and down from the sofa to enjoy his favorite past time of sitting on our laps. A couple of weeks ago the discomfort got to bad that he could not even lay comfortably in his bed, but would slowly hobble around the house in circles with his head hanging low vainly trying to find a way to get comfortable. And he was in so much pain that we had to carry him to and from the backyard. When we took Happy to the vet he noticed that Happy flinched when his back legs were moved and told us that he probably developing arthritis.
Probably because the greater concern was Happy’s upset stomach that was keeping him from eating, we left the office only with a medication to calm his upset stomach. But while he might be in the early stages and not yet in need of a strong pain med, it was clear that he was in enough pain to impact his choice of activities.
We were worried and wanted to be able to help alleviate Happy’s pain. But how? Not knowing what else to do I took to the internet to find some natural remedies to help my little Happy pup. And I came across several articles recommending the use of a heating pad. After consulting with my parents we decided to give it a try and pulled out their old electric blanket. Within moments Happy, who had reached the point that he was reluctant to sit for more than a moment on our laps, had settled down and fallen asleep. By the end of the first treatment he was limping short distances in the backyard and within a couple of days to our relief he was back to his bouncy, eagerly barking self.
Now every morning Happy jumps onto my lap to enjoy his time under the heating pad. And if I should forget he lifts up his head and gives me a funny little stare until I remember and pull out the blanket. Then he stretches himself out and takes a short nap.
While I am so glad that this treatment is working for my little Happy, I find it so funny how we are so ready to do things for our four footed family members that we never would think to do or would make time to do for ourselves. As I sit here typing I am lying in a half curled ball on the sofa leaning on a pillow and the arm of my sofa for support because I am in pain. Yet until this moment it had not even occurred to me to pull out the old heating pad to see if it would relieve my own increasing pain.
It’s an amazing thing, if we are the ones in pain we find it so easy to brush it off and determine that it can wait for a more convenient time to be dealt with. Stopping to deal with it only if the pain becomes so unmanageable that we cannot move. But let one of our four footed friends show the least sign of discomfort and the world comes to a halt as we hover over our little friends frantically trying to find a way to bring their suffering to an end. It just shows you what the power of love and a pair of heart melting eyes can do.
Six years ago my family and I decided that we would like to have a small raised garden bed in our backyard. We brought these beautiful movable cedar boxes that could be placed one on top of the other. We loved them, but three years latter when we went to get more they had been discontinued. So after some pricing we brought a couple of man made wood boxes.
My mother loved the way that they looked and was considering getting more, but after spending a couple of hundred dollars on dirt and plants she decided that it was better to wait a while and get more. A few weeks latter we were all grateful for her decision as one day when transplanting a new set of flowers into the garden I noticed that one corner was overflowing with ants. I did not think too much of it until a few days latter when standing on the stones that we had placed in between our garden boxes my legs began to itch. That is when I saw it, a trail of hundreds of ants were using the stones as a highway between the two boxes. That were now infested with millions of biting ants.
Time, I think that I am so painfully cognizant of it because thanks to my chronic health issues I lose so much of it. Everything in my life has to be planned around those precious hours and days that are lost to the debilitating waves of pain and fatigue that repeatedly force me to take a time out.
Time is the most valuable commodity that we have. With it we buy every aspect of our lives. From study time to family time, to the lazy afternoon at the beach, time buys it all.
While we think of money and all it allows us to buy, dream about the lifestyle that piles of money in our bank account would allow us enjoy, we little realize that the most precious asset that we own is time. Without time a room full of gold and jewels would be of no value, it would offer us no worth.
It is only with time on our clock of life that we can think, grow, interact, and understand. It is only while we have a deposit of time in our account that we can stop and take a leisurely walk on the beach, pick up a book and read, learn a new language, enjoy a sunset, paint a mountain scene, give a hug to our loved ones, and the countless wonders that belong to the living.
As I see the strange events happening all around me, it moves my heart. I feel a deep ache as I think about the millions and billions of people out there who have never heard of the love of God. Or worse yet, by the poor example of world loving Christian’s such as myself, have seen nothing to draw them to God.
More times than I would like to admit, I have been drawn to the things of this world. My eye has been caught by the glitter and gloss that the devil holds out like a carrot stick that he promises to give us a heaping bite of it only we will take this step and then that step until we find ourselves slipping into over the precept and falling into the gully of ruin.
When I see how close we are to the return of Jesus, a thought which on one hand fills me with joy, on the other hand it feels me with regret as I see the precious hours that I have wasted and the poor example that I have been. As I think of the joys that He has promised, of the delight of throwing off my glasses and saying goodbye to my aching body, a deep sadness fills my heart as I wonder if by my neglect there will be or two missing from the kingdom of Heaven who might have been there if I had taken the time to reach out and share with them the word of God or had been a better example of the purity and loving master I claimed to serve.
Trust is one of those funny things in life that cannot exist except in the presence of trial, tribulation, and doubt. During times of peace, prosperity, and abundance we can claim we trust, we can say that we are confident. But surrounded by comfort, bathing in the soothing waters of excess, and enjoying the delightful strains of peace there is little room for fear or doubt.
Gliding down the still waters our hearts have nothing to faint at. No reason to reach out our perspiration drenched hands and hold onto the hands of another with all our might. Hoping and praying that our feeble grasp will not give or the arm above us grow tired.
But when the still waters fade and the deafening roar of the waterfall fills our hears with fear and our heart lunges inside our aching chest, that is when trust is revealed. That is when we reveal to one and all if our words of confidence in the unswerving promises of God are the overconfident prattle of the prosperous or genuine gold which they too should desire.
In the hour of need, when everything we hold dear is at stake, that is when, by our actions, we preach our greatest sermon. In the testing fire of trial we can show to one and all, that even though our hands may shake and eyes fill with tears, the chord between heaven and earth is stronger than the hurricane of fear. That peace of heart is ours because we believe and trust the promises of the One who promised that He will hear our prayers and take care of our needs. And we show the world that the promises of God are worth more than all the gold and silver in this world.
Happy Father’s day to all the Fathers out there. Thank you for your faithful watch care, loving concern, and patience throughout the year. And a special thanks to my own Father who has sacrificed time, money, and comfort in an attempt to find a way to help me get well. Thank you for all that you have done and being one of the few to believe me when I said that something is wrong.