“Do you want some Ibuprofen?” I asked helpfully.
My husband awoke one morning and said his calf hurt. Three days earlier we had been exploring our son’s new, untamed property, when his foot got caught in some vines. He had went down to his knees on soft pine needles and wasn’t hurt. So the adventure continued. Was this a delayed reaction, without any swelling or anything else remarkable to speak of?
“Sure. I’ll take some. Guess it can’t hurt.”
But a week later, no change. It still hurt. And no swelling whatsoever. Strange. I reached for both feet to compare his legs side-by-side. Oh, dear.
“Um, this foot is cold and this one is warm.”
The warm foot was on the hurt side. We had both read that warmth wasn’t good, but we had not thought to check for it, thinking he would feel it. So off to the Emergency Room we went.
My husband had an 11-inch blood clot in his leg. For a week, he had been walking around—seconds from meeting God—and didn’t even know it.
And so are we.
Life is fragile. It can be snuffed out so easily by a chicken bone, a mindless driver, a rickety ladder, faulty wiring or an allergic reaction. Every moment is literally a gift. What are we doing with it? Does our thankfulness and appreciation of each and every breath equal and reflect it’s immense value and worth? Or do we cheapen it’s rarity with the mindset, “Well, there’s plenty more where that came from!”
These are questions I had to ask myself—along with the hardest one of all. Am I truly grateful for every speck of goodness that comes my way everyday—and focused on finding every last joy-giving crumb of it—or am I so busy and burdened with the cares of this life that its inherent, God-given goodness, the true treasure He breathed into it with Himself, is either obscured from sight or forgotten altogether, as precious moments fly by, never to be seen again?
I love a scene from Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts. As long as she kept her gaze focused on her groom, she walked straight down the aisle toward him. But if she got distracted and lost that all-important eye-contact, she would veer off and lose her way. And that’s what happened. Her focus was interrupted by a camera flash and she was off and running again. She made her get-a-way in a passing Fed-Ex truck.
One of the guests asked, “Where is she going?”
Another answered, “I don’t know. But she’ll be there by 10 am.” 😊
And I laughed along with everyone else. But it was not at all funny that she had lost her focus and missed out on all the goodness waiting for her.
I almost lost my groom as well. My life could have changed forever—and still might. While this medical issue was resolved, other unknowns await every day. There are no guarantees. Several friends and acquaintances have lost their husbands recently, some to physical death and others to the death of their relationship. Am I truly grateful for every moment with him? And do I see—really see—the goodness of those moments? Or will it take a grave?
Not if I can help it.
As I pondered these things in the soft light of a Saturday morning, my sweet husband pulled me close. I smiled upward and whispered a silent, “Thank you!” which traveled out into the morning, up through the clouds, past sky, sun, moon and space, and slipped breathlessly through one of the starry peepholes of heaven and found a waiting, listening ear. He heard and laughed with pleasure.
My heart did too.
The man I married when I was only 20 (and I just turned 59!) still loves me, still wants me. And I him. And that goodness—and every other goodness that a life of oneness brings—far outweighs the unpleasantries of every time he forgets to brush his teeth, doesn’t help in the kitchen, speaks the harsh thing instead of swallowing it or makes an unwise decision. And don’t even get me started on MY shortcomings!
So with goodness spilling out everywhere, I refuse to live in the grave of discontent.
I will walk down the aisle of 2021 and choose to see—really see—all the goodness of my groom. And better still, the goodness of my God.