Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Counting my blessings

I do that on more days then you might think. Three years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting to see how much of Ron's foot had needed to be amputated. I waited to see how badly the gangrene had attacked his body and prayed that I'd take my husband home from the hospital. Three years ago this week, he nearly died. If Keith had not been home with him, I'm sure the gangrene would have cost him not only his leg, but probably his life as well. I had flown to Virginia the weekend before with Isaiah, who I'd had since Christmas 2005 while Amy finished her stint in the Navy. Since she was being discharged, Isaiah and I flew there to drive back with her. Enroute, we received a frantic telephone call from Keith about how bad Ron was and that they had admitted him into the hospital. If it wasn't for Keith and our pastor and friend, Terry, there's no telling what the outcome could have been. We got home as fast as we could and the next day - April 1 - Ron had his surgery.

Today, we were sitting in yet another doctor's office, waiting for a determination on Ron's left knee. How ironic it is to be so far down the road with one issue, and just beginning another. As we were sitting there, I was contemplating our 25th wedding anniversary (coming up in August) and I thought about all the things we haven't done in the past 24.5 years...

We haven't had irrevocable differences.
We haven't gone to bed angry with each other. We've had moments of irritation, but not true *anger* that festers inside.
We haven't thrown it in each other's faces that the other person is just like the "ex"-spouse.

Those are some pretty special things that we haven't done and I'm proud of them. We both came into this marriage with baggage. We had things from our first marriages still weighing us down, and we each had children. We had a lot of responsibilities between us. But, we also decided that we would make this work and we would keep God in the relationship so He would keep us in the relationship.

I've thought a lot about the trips and things we've not experienced as a family or married couple. We didn't have a honeymoon and had looked forward to doing something special for our 25th. A cruise was always something that I had in the back of my mind. I'm not sure Ron was ever as enthusiastic as I was about the possibility, but it was always something I looked forward to. A honeymoon - 25 years after the fact. Now, I think we have just him being healthy enough to make it through the year to look forward to. Quite frankly (and I'm not complaining), there's no money for a 25th celebration, no matter how small we would make it - and certainly no money for a cruise. We can look forward to that for maybe our 30th anniversary.

In retrospect, as I think about the things we've not done, and not experienced, it makes me a little sad about some of the poor choices we made over the years. Some of Ron's health problems today are a direct result of his choices where food and lifestyle are concerned; some of our financial issues today are also a direct result of our misguided or selfish choices.

We've never...
  • owned a hot tub
  • gone to a foreign country (shopping in Tijuana doesn't count)
  • taken a cruise
  • taken a real family vacation
  • had a functioning swimming pool (had one - didn't work; had to fill in the hole)
  • had a really nice entertainment system, with surround sound, theatre seats, projection screen, etc.
  • had lots of social engagements

And, yet - we survived. Some of the things in that list are things I'd like to have done (or would still like to do) but when I think about those things, I have to keep these in mind...

Many people in the world not only don't own a hot tub, they don't own a tub of any kind - and if they did, they don't have running water to fill it or even clean water to drink, running or otherwise. We've never been to a foreign country, but many people in the world have never been outside of their villages, and some of the ones who have wish they'd never had to leave because they left due to drought, famine, violence, disease, or worse. We've never taken a cruise, but many people who have taken a "cruise," have done so out of a desperate need to protect their families from the tragedies and lifestyles they've left behind. So, thinking about a swimming pool, entertainment systems, and social engagements seems really petty and self-centered. Those items don't even cross the conscious minds of people all over the world, including our own country, who just long for a meal, a drink, appropriate clothing, and some kind of shelter to protect themselves from the elements and those who would do them harm.

So, as I count my many blessings in this world - even though the past three years have been exceedingly tough - I know that I have so much to be thankful for. I'm sure that I never get all the "thanks" in that I should. As I go through my day-to-day activities, I strive to remember all that I have and to realize I am very, very blessed.

No comments: