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"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Beaten down with some pretty severe headaches, several doctors assured me repeatedly that it was, “just post-covid symptoms. It’ll gradually improve. Don’t worry about it.” Then, on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, I was overcome with strong and sudden nausea, so I called in sick. My doctor walked me across the street to the hospital. They started using a string of strong terms which arrested my attention: you’re stroking out, kidney problems, kidney damage, kidney failure, cancer. After a week in the hospital and a couple of surgeries, my life has taken a dramatic turn.
Now, a year later, I spend most of my time living life on a couch with the companionship of a herd of pillows and my favorite blanket. I have a constant diet of medication and a faithful water glass which never leaves my side.
I find that I face a choice between two options on at least a daily basis. I am painfully aware of what I can no longer do, and I resent it… I hate it. There is so much I want to do. I want to build some things. I want to repair some things. I want to take my kids fishing. I want to explore. I want to mow the lawn. I want to swim. I want to do… go… live!
If I focus on these things, then that becomes a one-way, dead-end street called, “Bitterness”. It is dead-end because I will get stuck there and, consequently, never fully appreciate today. I will ever miss the present because it’s not what I want it to be. It is a bitter way to spend my life. It is a self-centered way to spend my life. It is a tragic, inexcusable waste of my life.
The alternative choice is to remember that this day is a day the Lord has made. That means that there is room to rejoice and be glad. So, I become vigilantly conscious of what I can do. I am on the lookout for my continually changing limitations so that I can be aware of what I can do today. I pray often, “Lord, will you open my eyes to see what can I do? Please help me to want that.” This helps me to identify where I can rejoice and be glad, because I recognize His blessings in my day. The natural response when we recognize God’s blessings is gratitude. Gratitude, when cultivated, produces joy.
I have today. I have another day to be grateful to God as He fills my day with family, friends, and the beauty of His creation. I love my Lord and I am grateful that He has taught me to cultivate a loving relationship with Him as He has forged me into some semblance of a man. And now, during what appears to be the Autumn years of my life, like Him, I get to rest and appreciate the beauty of all that my family has created.
I love my life. I love my Wife. I love my family. I love the many friendships we have cultivated over the years. I love the life we have built… full of the memories we have made. I love the memories we are making today. I look forward to the memories yet to be made. I am the richest guy I know.
So, the choice, more simply, is either to move away from God to wallow in my own self-pity, or to move toward God and reap joy.