Yes – the discipline of gratitude.
For sure, sometimes life throws stuff at us which we’d rather not have to deal with – but far more often than we imagine, we can choose gratitude, even in the face of considerable odds.
For once, a rather more personal disclosure if I may.
Yesterday I saw my GP to discuss recent x-ray results. I’d though I’d done something to cause a flare-up of an old ligament injury. Sadly, no – that would have been the good news. The reality is that I have significant arthitis in that hip, way beyond the norm for someone of my age. The prognosis? He didn’t pull any punches (he’s an ex-orthopaedic surgeon). It will get worse. The pain and disability will increase. Eventually I will need surgery if I don’t die first (cheerful chaps, ex-surgeon GPs!). Ok, so far so normal. He then took a long hard look at my medical records, which have finally been transferred from our previous surgery, a mere 4 months or so after our move here. The list of pain relief meds which make me throw up is extensive and comprehensive, including codeine and morphine derivatives. So – I will eventually be in considerable pain which they will not be able to control adequately, both pre- and post-op. It is not going to be fun.
I decided yesterday that I had a choice – I could stop living now, sit down and wait for my fate to reach me, rant and rage and cry “it’s not fair!!” – or I can be grateful that I’m nearly 60 before this has happened (I know many, many people who have far worse disability than I do and at a much younger age). I can be grateful that my new GP is an ex-orthopaedic surgeon who treats me as an adult and with sympathy. I can be grateful that we have moved to an area with lots of lovely flat walking by beautiful scenery. I can be grateful for friends and family who will love and support me through whatever lies ahead. I can be grateful that I will not have to do this on my own.
Life is still good – and will continue to be so as pain and disability increase.
God is still good – and will continue to be so as pain and disability increase.
The sun will continue to shine, the rain to fall, the wind to blow. Flowers and trees and birds and clouds will continue to share their beauty with me.
Who knows? I may even be given the grace to learn to occasionally accept help from others rather than trying to be, single-handed, the saviour of the world! 🙂
And I can learn to live in the present moment – this present moment, in which God is ever present. I can learn to live always in awareness – awareness of the pain-free moments as well as the pain-filled ones.
And I can anticipate with joy all the future unexpected and as yet unimagined blessings which lie in store for me.
In everything, give thanks. For we have much for which to be thankful. Or to put it another way, let us ever live in the full awareness of the truth that in everything God works for good.
And here are other people posting on the Advent Book Club: