Sometimes I forget to spit out the seeds…

Posts tagged ‘thankful’

Saturday Musings on my Porch

I woke up this morning, after eight hours of sleep, feeling like I’d just finished a full day of hard physical labor.  My energy level picked up, but not much.  I managed to get a load of dishes washed, help my little girls straighten their rooms, sort and file six months worth of paperwork, and turn dozens of frozen bread ends into bread crumbs.  The last was an effort to make room in my freezer while we were trying to determine if our full-sized freezer had died.  Turns out it had just been left open, and we didn’t lose any of the contents.  Praise God for mundane victories, right?

I paused between projects to get a bit of fresh air.  I moved to our huge screened-in porch, which is one of the focal points of our new home.  New, still, in my mind, sixteen months after moving in.  I’m sitting in a wicker chair I inherited when my grandma moved from her large home in the woods of western Massachusetts, to a tiny apartment here in upstate New York. Outside, I can see the bright blue sky, visible through the greenery of a tall, sprawling tree next to the driveway.  The wind whips through the branches, and also makes the loose sheets of plastic that covered the porch screens for the winter flap around wildly, with a sound that is actually quite lovely and peaceful.

Gazing across our driveway to the side yard, I glimpse a sea of green grass with an abundance of yellow dandelions. I never can understand why people spray chemicals to kill those lovely flowers.  Our “neighbors,” row after row of headstones, decorated with flags and flowers, receive many visitors today.

Looking down the expanse of the porch, I see towels and bathing suits, hanging on hooks and draped over benches; evidence of a pre-lunch swim in the creek.  A path of small mismatched rugs extends from where I am to the door, covering the tile that isn’t really meant for outdoor conditions, and gets dangerously slippery when wet.  The stacked up bins of shoes and boots sit near the door.  A crate we found in the barn attic, filled with century-old encyclopedias, acts as a table for the spigot-ed jar of bubbles and basket of sidewalk chalk.

The house paint is chipped, the ceiling fans are ugly, and the metal nameplate by the door bears the previous owners’ names.  (Why in the world haven’t we taken that down yet?)  The pieces of wicker furniture would look so much cuter if they were painted to match and had new cushions.  But despite these flaws – and perhaps even because of them, because I know there will never be an end to maintaining and improving this home – I am filled with thankfulness for what God has blessed us with.  The exhaustion that threatened to overtake me a few minutes ago has receded a bit, and I feel refreshed.  The refreshment is mostly mental and spiritual, and my body is still weary.  But it’s enough to get me through the day.

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Second Verse, Same as the First; A Song of Thanksgiving

After weeks of brooding over my “normal” diagnosis regarding my thyroid function, I called my endocrinologist.  I asked for more tests.  I braved the hospital lab early on a cold Saturday morning.  I met an angel phlebotomist who, when I started to cry, asked me, “Have you been tortured?  I can always tell the ones who’ve been tortured.”  She promised me that she would only stick me if she was 110% sure, and she kept that promise.  I smiled when she assured me that I was, in fact, bleeding freely.

Four pages of tests.  Ten vials of blood.  I don’t even remember all that was on the list.  Celiac, rheumatoid something, hormones galore, adrenal function, vitamin levels.  A week and a half later, I heard from my doctor’s nurse, Frankie.  She went through the list, saying, “That’s good,” every time she said that the result was normal.  My heart sank with each item, and my brain screamed, “This is the opposite of good!”  Being unwell with no explanation is not GOOD.

Finally, she let me know that my vitamin D was low, and that I should supplement.  And also, did I want to come back to see the doctor in a year?  I nearly threw the phone on the floor at that suggestion.  I was supposed to just live with my growing list of symptoms for twelve months, go back, and what?  Have her tell me that there still was “nothing wrong with me”?  Vitamin D was not going to fix all that ails me.  I insisted that I need to see her soon, and got an appointment for next month.

I won’t give the details of my physical reaction in the aftermath of this conversation, or the plummeting of my hope for healing, or the desperation that was skillfully calmed by the wisest woman I know (a.k.a. Mom, of course).  Instead, I want to share with you the joyful prayer of thanksgiving that escaped my lips, when I decided to focus on all that my body has done and can do, instead of the ways it is deficient now.

1.  My body has grown 8 healthy children within it, through normal, uncomplicated pregnancies.  Though not without their discomforts, I did not spend all those months vomiting, or bed-ridden, or in fear for my or my child’s life

2.  My body has given birth 8 times; again, normally, and without complications.  I was blessed to give birth 6 times in the comfort of my own home, with amazing support and care all around me.  I experienced the beauty of God’s design; although fraught with the pain that came when sin entered the world, I am in awe of what He made my body to do.

3.  My body has nourished 8 children with the milk it produced, on average for about 16 months each.  They all thrived on that perfect food, and the joy that came with warmth and overwhelming love was more than enough to counter the few “issues” I had with breastfeeding.

4.  My body shed the copious pounds put on during pregnancy seven times.  Seven times I gained and lost an average of 50 lbs.   Beginning with my third pregnancy, I had to work for it, but my body always responded to me treating it right.

5.  My body rarely gets sick.  I don’t often get colds, and I’ve never had an illness worse than strep throat.  I get a stomach bug maybe every other year.

6.  My body has never had a broken bone or needed stitches.  That may be more a testimony to my lifestyle and choice of activities, but I’m thankful for it nonetheless.

7.  My body has never needed surgery, aside from dental surgery.  I have never had to be admitted to a hospital, for any reason.

8.  My body is fairly well coordinated, and I have a good sense of rhythm.  I’m pretty sure I would rock at Zumba, if I ever had the chance to try it

As I tearfully thanked God for all of these things, my mind kept trying to interject, “but what about…”  But I shut it down, again and again, and returned to the things that I am thankful for.  As my mom reminded me, I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  Whatever else may come, that will always be true.