Today is one of those days were discouragement keeps knocking on my door trying to find entrance into my heart. Stubbornly reminding me of all the goals and dreams that I have not meet and pointing out all the accomplishments and privileges that my peers enjoy. Whispering in my ear that life is and has passed my by. Insisting that my humble little life is a failure because I have not hit the mile markers of life such as getting a car, a job, a husband, and children like all my other classmates.
When discouragement comes to visit, it is amazing how as soon as its footsteps cross the threshold happiness threatens to go on vacation. Probably because joy, peace, contentment, and self-esteem cannot endure discouragement’s contentious presence. There is something about that dreaded visitor called discouragement that drives away pleasant guest such as hope and comfort.
I came across this poem the other day and it brought back so many memories. My family was privileged to have Natasha in our lives for 9 wonderful years. Like my adorable little Happy, she slept on a pillow in the corner of my room and followed me wherever I went. She was a wonderful friend and faithful companion. More than once my special pup had found a way to alert my parents to the fact that I was in need of medical care. One time she spent over an hour going from the front window over to my Father, then over to me to smell my breath, before heading back to the window. When my Father figured out that she was trying to tell us that something was seriously wrong and called 911, I had to be rushed to the nearest hospital because my blood pressure and pulse were both over 200. Or the time she cried mum with such pathos that I knew my Mother needed to go to the ER, and ended up spending a week in the hospital because she had water building in her lungs
There is so much more that I would love to say about my special dog. How she loved to sneak bones out of the box when we were gone. Not so she could eat them, but so she could hide them in the sofa, chairs, or even our made beds so we could find them and play a game of chase with her when we returned. How like Happy, she found joy in startling my mother. Of the time she gave us a fright when she found my plate of chocolate chip cookies and ate every last one when no one was looking, the way she hated riding past run down homes, and the proud smile on her face when we finally moved into our dream home.
Thanks to another flare of my iron deficiency anemia I have not only been enjoying a debilitating bout of fatigue, chills, and ghost pale skin, but I have been dealing with another round of vegetarian pica. Vegetarian pica is a term that I created to explain my sudden desire for and acceptance of meat when my iron takes a rapid plunge. Having been raised a vegetarian, I had no taste of desire for meat. Growing up the idea of consuming the dead body of a sad faced cow or chicken had no appeal to me. I much preferred my vegetarian hot dogs made of unfeeling soy than the ground up body of a once living and breathing animal.
Due to a miserable infection I have been unable to write for the past few weeks. I knew for a month that I was developing an infection but it was one of those cat and mouse type of infections that left me miserable one day, and the next the symptoms seemed to subside. My nasal cavities felt miserable, but the pressure was too mild for me to go to the doctor and confidently declare that I was having another sinus infection.
Then a couple of Sunday mornings ago, I woke up with a full fledge infection. I was dizzy, feverishly achy, had a miserable head ache, and my sinuses throbbed like base drums. At that point I was more than confident that I had an infection and was eager to go to the urgent care and bring an end to my misery.
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 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.
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.
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.