Yesterday I received an email from my friend, Karla Johnson. In part she said:
In African American churches, you will often hear a prayer of gratitude, which typically includes a resounding agreement from the pews. "Thank you God, for THIS day. For it is a day that was not promised to us. Thank you for waking me up this morning and starting me on my way." I've always been in the "AY-MEHN!" choir on this one. Life is short and uncertain. The reminder towards gratitude--that "The Lord is Blessing Me Right Now" simply because I have breath--brings strength and joy.
Yesterday was my birthday. I had a wonderful day on Thursday. Friday was only so-so. Not a bad day. Just nothing special. Fish for lunch (for someone who would put fish next to the bottom rung on a list of least favorite meals). Bingo without winning anything. The only word on writing a definite "no" on one project.
I was giving myself a pity-party when I heard from Karla. She also spoke of receiving a blessing by being a blessing . . . and I was able to thank God that I could minister to the activities director, who persevered through the Bingo games even though her home was threatened by wild fires. I also ministered to a fellow player by speaking the truth about what had happened.
My attitude began to change. I accepted the aide who painted by fingernails to match my toe nails as a special birthday blessing.
The hamburger (complete with bun), french fries and cherry cobbler for supper tasted better than ever.
And when my son arrived with his wife and children (oh, and my favorite caramel sundae), why, that was just the icing on the cake.
I haven't used my prayer journey Bible and prayer journal for months (another blessing: I could reach for and pick up the heavy Bible). I turned to the last entry: dated Thursday, March 22, 2012.
One day before my right arm began hurting. Two days before it hurt so bad I coudn't move it without screaming (it stayed that way for about three weeks). Three days before I woke up and couldn't get out of bed. Four days before I entered the hospital with a high fever and an infection in my blood.
I returned to the hospital the day after the fourth of July, this time with a bowel obstruction that they wanted to correct without surgery. It took ten days.
From there I went to the nursing home. I am stronger and in better spirits than I have been for a long time. I have finished one manuscript, am close to finishing another one, and been promised contracts for three more books.
The Lord was blessing my birthday just because I had life and breath? Absolutely. Did I expect to make it to my birthday? Not necessarily, after the year I've had.
But I am here. Better than in a long time. With God opening the doors ahead of me both of life and of career.
Praise the Lord.