"It's funny how in the midst of crazy times, we can so easily get caught up in what ISN'T going right, what we want to fix, what we want to change what we "need"..... It's so easy to forget to stop and be thankful for what we do have! It's not that I am never thankful for anything, it's just that life can cause such a whirlwind sometimes...
The last couple weeks, the Lord has been reminding me of how much I have to be thankful for in my life. As many know, I'm working at a children's hospital in the hematology and oncology research department. The majority of my time is not spent with patients right now, but the time I do has such a huge impact on me. These are kids and families from all walks of life and in many different stages in dealing with their disease. I've seen some kids walk out with a smile, balloons, lots of family - free of disease - and I praise the Lord every day for those cases. And then I meet kids like one I met the other day.
Short of a miracle, he won't make it much longer. He's courageously battled an extremely aggressive and painful form of cancer for several years now - way beyond his original expectancy. I was speaking in the hall with one of his doctors when I met him. The doctor was explaining how so many of these kids suffer not just because of their illness, but because people just shut down around them...they don't know how to react, what to do, what to say - so they don't do anything. The doctor said, the best thing you can do is ask what you want to ask, react the way your gut tells you, and if nothing else, make eye contact and say hello. Well, I have no problem saying hi kids like this and having a quick conversation...but what do you say to a 6 year old boy who is likely nearing the end of his all too short life? But, as he approached with a giant smile, high fived his doctor and said, "hey, what's your name?" to me - I dove in! We talked about all sorts of things - what cancer he has, how long he's at the hospital this time for, what he likes to do in his spare time (football and comedy!!), and I heard a few of his jokes! He then proceeded to tell me that he lives at the hospital a lot and had recently come back after awhile away. He told me his favorite uncle who is in college on the other side of the state usually took time off of school to come stay with him for awhile in the hospital, but he wasn't coming now. And then he shocked me. He proceeded to tell me how it's okay what's going on with him. He said that soon he knew he would be going to his home in heaven where Jesus lives because the treatment for his cancer makes him very sick and doesn't cure him and it was time to stop. He told me that they continue to pray for a miracle, but it's okay if it doesn't happen because sometimes they're just not supposed to. And he told me it was okay because his favorite uncle promised to make sure to come see him when his body was going to heaven. He said it all with a sweet little smile, and he knew exactly what he was talking about. He proceeded to tell me details about how people would miss him, and he was kinda bummed he couldn't become a comedian, but sometimes we don't always get exactly what we want.
It's not the only story....but I sure came home and marveled at all that I have. I get to come home to a beautiful house, an amazing husband and the sweetest, healthy baby girl I could ask for! So maybe it would be nice if our debt got paid off faster, if I didn't have co-workers that drove me crazy, if I never got sick again or had to deal with any of this immune junk, if my life went perfectly the way I thought it should..... Life has been hectic over the past few years, we've had some challenges and frustrations. But aren't all those things just even more reason for me to celebrate the wonderful things that I DO have?!?! We are so fortunate, even in the things we are lacking. My "needs" seem so small compared to those of the family who is about to lose their 6 year old son after doing everything they know how to do...
I know I'm not there yet, but I feel like I'm gaining a fresh perspective on a thankful heart. From the innocence of children in the midst of struggle I wish none of them had to know, to the families who have spent days, months, years at the hospital praying that some sort of miracle would happen for their sweet little child - - our troubles are so small when put in perspective.
I sit at home tonight thankful for my sweet little Paisley who giggled and ran and made a huge mess eating mac n cheese tonight. Thankful for my amazing husband who has so patiently and faithfully waited for the right job - and finally got the call for the perfect opportunity tonight. Thankful for a bed to sleep in tonight, for a roof over our heads, for a dog who gets himself into trouble all the time but really just wants to cuddle, for another day of work tomorrow, and for a God who loves us unconditionally and always gives us exactly what we need.
Are you truly thankful??"
Little footprints on my freshly mopped-still-wet floor.
Thank you God for tiny footprints.